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Congratulations to our very own Mel Hori who has been awarded the Skills Highway Champion Trainer Award 2021!

When we asked Mel why this work means so much to her, she said it’s because education is one of the most important things in life, and it opens doors.


“Education engages you with a community. It builds people’s self-worth and empowers them. I think adults sometimes get forgotten about too. They’ve slipped through an education system that isn’t set up to meet their needs, and then that’s it. So I love being able to work with these adults and change their learning experiences to something positive. Then they can share this with their own whānau too.”

We’re so proud to have Mel on the Upskills team – alongside our group of phenomenal tutors around the country. They are making a real difference in the world of adult learning.

Here’s what our nomination for Mel said:

Mel has been with Upskills for over 3 years. We knew from the start she was a special type of trainer.  Not only does she consistently achieve amazing results for her learners (66% of her most recent group of 6 learners achieved a step gain on the ALNAT tool when compared with their pre-course scores) but she has a genuine and meaningful way of connecting with them. Here’s what two of her learners in the last year had to say in their feedback:

“Grateful for our amazing mentor Mel, who has been on this journey with me and helped me understand things in a clearer way.”

“Melissa is a very patient teacher towards us and very creative to find ways to make it fun and at the same time we’re able to learn.”

When Auckland recently went into Level 4 and her learners couldn’t attend their course, they reached out to Mel for some extra learning they could use with their kids. She quickly whipped up some worksheets with contextualised numeracy problems for them to learn alongside their children. This is just one example of how Mel goes above and beyond to create learner success and learner agency. 

She is always up for helping out. Whether is quickly switching her groups into Zoom learning, running Facebook Live events, or stepping in to cover a colleague. She brings the same high energy and commitment to quality, dynamic learning in every context. She really does embrace the learning model for our sector: knowing the demands, knowing the learner, and knowing what to do. 

The final reason Mel deserves this nomination is because of her commitment to reflective practice and mahitahi. She’s the first to share her resources, and comes to every professional development and Upskills team opportunity. She is committed to helping all of us to shine, whether we are colleagues or learners.

Mai i te kōpae ki te urupa, tātou ako tonu ai.  From the cradle to the grave we are forever learning.

Watch video

We caught up with Mel to find out how she feels about her award and why the win was important to her.

Read more

About our team

Upskills Ltd.

Address: 93 Church St, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
Free parking: 120 minutes, Gerrard Beeson Pl.
Phone: 09 622 3979