Te Kuiti’s Trent Ammon is coming to University of Waikato on a Te Ara ki Angitū scholarship, and his family bus company is right behind him.
Being a participant of the University of Waikato’s Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence programme and a Te Ara ki Angitū Scholarship recipient has opened many doors for Trent Ammon.
Trent heard about the University’s Te Ara ki Angitū programme when speaking with a Waikato Future Students Advisor while a student at Te Kuiti High School. The programme aims to provide students living in regional areas better access to tertiary study through a subsidised bus service, scholarships, support and mentoring. It was these perks that piqued his interest in Waikato’s Bachelor of Science over other options, especially after receiving the news he’d been awarded a $5000 Te Ara ki Angitū scholarship could put towards his tuition fees.
“I had originally thought about going elsewhere for university study but Waikato’s competitive cost, the scholarship reducing the financial burden and being able to stay at home made the decision to choose Waikato an easy one. And the bus is just $1 a ride, so it’s really convenient.”
In fact, his dad’s family business, Ammon Motors, is one of three bus companies that provide a subsidised service for students from around the Waikato region involved in the University’s Te Ara ki Angitū programme. This initiative allows students to live at home, easing their financial burden and helping them stay connected to their support networks. The idea to partner with the University in this way originated with his dad.
“My dad is always looking to give back to the community, so we thought this would be a good idea and we’ve managed to add additional buses to the fleet for the programme. Some of them have Wi-Fi, so I can do my work on the bus as well.”
Without the stress of moving from Te Kuiti and being away from his family, Trent has made a smooth transition to university and had a positive student experience, making friends on the bus and in the whānau room, a resource allocated to Te Ara ki Angitū students for studying, relaxation and socialising.
“I’ve definitely branched out and made friends at Waikato. I also chose to take a class in the management school, which is outside my science degree, so I’ve been able to meet even more people.”
Trent plans to follow his passion for science alongside contributing to the family business. “I might also be interested in combining science and business one day. Agribusiness is a growing area, and Te Kuiti is a farming town so it makes sense.”
The University of Waikato’s Te Ara ki Angitū: Pathways to Excellence programme was established in 2016 in South Waikato and expanded to other regions in 2017. The programme now reaches 25 schools and communities across Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel, Matamata-Piako, Waikato, Otorohonga, South Waikato and Waitomo districts.