Former Te Kuiti High School student Trent Ammon (18) is starting university this week thanks to the University of Waikato’s Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence programme.
Established in 2015, the newly expanded programme gives regional students greater access to tertiary study through subsidised daily bus services, access to fees scholarships, mentoring and learning support.
Trent’s received a $3000 Te Ara ki Angitū scholarship and says the programme will help him save much more.
“The bus will take me to Hamilton in the morning and back to Te Kuiti at night for just $1 each way,” says Trent. “That’s going to save me heaps in transport and living costs and means I’ll be around to help dad with the family business on weekends.”
Trent’s dad Dale is the owner of Ammon Motors, one of three bus companies supporting the programme. Dale’s bus leaves from Te Kuiti while four other buses travel from Thames, Te Kauwhata, Matamata and Tokoroa with various pick-up points along the way.
While living at home means a longer commute, Trent says he’s not worried.
“There’s free wifi on the bus so I can work on assignments or use the time to catch up on sleep,” he says.
Once on campus, students will have access to a dedicated pastoral care programme and to a whānau/common room.
Trent is starting a Bachelor of Science and wants to get into forensics one day, if he doesn’t take-over the family business before then.
“I like being involved with the community,” says Trent. “I must get that from my dad.”
Launched last year in partnership with Tokoroa and Putaruru High Schools in South Waikato, Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence has expanded to include 25 schools across Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel, Matamata-Piako, Waikato, South Waikato and Otorohonga-Waitomo districts.
The programme is a key part of the University of Waikato’s regional engagement strategy and regional and district communities are expressing strong support for the initiative.