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From fatigue to a future in freight

When Matthew Clarkin was in high school, he battled chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia and depression and eventually had to drop out before finishing NCEA Level 2. Now, he manages a Mainfreight warehouse and thanks Wintec | Te Pūkenga for setting him up on a sustainable career pathway.

It took Matthew five years to eventually get his health back on track. However, having achieved that, he felt he had no pathway into study or a career because he hadn’t gained the qualifications he needed at high school.

“Essentially, I was wondering what I could do with my life and where I could go.”

Fortunately, he had a connection to a former Wintec employee through family and high school sports who invited him to come a see what Wintec could offer him.

“I went to Wintec for the day and [the former employee] laid out where I could start and the different paths I could take. I chose to complete Business Level 3 because I was still getting on top of my health challenges, and I wasn’t 100 percent sure if I could handle it.”

Matthew completed the six-month course and found he loved it and went on to study Business Level 5, eventually completing his Bachelor of Applied Management (BAM) majoring in Supply Chain Logistics. Through his industry placement as part of his studies, he was able to secure permanent employment at Mainfreight.

When reflecting on how he overcame his illness, Matthew says time was key as well as looking for positives, his major positive being getting a dog.

“My dog, Kim, brought a lot of happiness into my life and luckily, I had the support of my father to help me through it. Support was important, without support I wouldn’t have been so lucky to get through.”

Matthew’s studies took him a total of three years as he utilised summer school each year and had the mindset of getting into a career as soon as possible.

He completed his last paper, which involved the work placement at Mainfreight, towards the end of 2021 before graduating and gaining a job at Mainfreight.

“When I was trying to find a placement, I looked around for supply chain management workplaces in Hamilton and came across Mainfreight. Any papers we did at Wintec you had to use real life examples and for one of my papers I had researched Mainfreight, so I used that to break the ice when approaching them about a placement. I sent both the managers of the Hamilton branch an email asking for a placement and they appreciated that I knew a bit more about them than someone who hadn’t studied them.”

Matthew’s placement took place over Christmas and New Year and was during peak season. He said it was varied work, both office and warehouse and he ended up losing about 20kgs over the time as he worked so hard.

“Now I manage the Dangerous Goods warehouse here in Hamilton. I lead a team of four who take care of our customers.”

Matthew said Wintec provided him with the pathway he needed to get to where he didn’t realise he wanted to go, because he had no idea he would be able to achieve what he has.

“Even though halfway through my degree Covid changed how we study, Wintec was still in awesome place to gain my qualifications. The teachers were awesome. It set me up 100 percent for this job. I was aimless because I had no idea where I could go or what I could do. So, going to Wintec that day right at the beginning and having a plan set out for me with pathways I could take to get to higher education gave me a future to aim for. Now, I wake up in the morning and I’m excited to go to work.”

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