August 2023, Articles

Paralympian shot putter builds for Paris and a special career

With his sights firmly set on qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games, Paralympian shot putter Ben Tuimaseve is also making every post a winning post in progressing his career as a youth development worker.

Thanks to HPSNZ’s Prime Minister’s Scholarship internship programme, Tokyo Para athletics shot putter Ben Tuimaseve has been able to explore his passion for working with young people while continuing to build towards qualifying for Paris 2024.

Ben is progressing his goal to work in youth development during his internship with Te Karanga Trust, a creative youth development agency which aims to make a positive difference in the lives of young people.

His passion for the work the trust does comes from deep personal experience.

“As a young person, I had love but not guidance. I became misguided. The youth we walk alongside are similar and come from less than ideal homes, so to use empathy, patience and creativity to try and help is satisfying,” says Ben.

He had already been involved with the trust working as a volunteer after hours so had built up a good rapport with the charity.  “I was incredibly excited when the HPSNZ fully funded internship opportunity came up so I immediately approached the team at Te Karanga to see if they would be interested in taking me on as an intern.”

Te Karanga Trust lead, Will Mark-Brown takes up Ben’s story.  “Ben has a natural talent and skill working with young people, so the internship programme allowed us to bring him on board and train him in youth development without worrying about funding, a very important aspect for a not for profit organisation.”

While Ben spends much of his 20 hours a week at the trust working with young people, he has also received training to become a registered youth worker.

Ben’s sporting eyes are still firmly set on the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games and he is grateful for the flexibility and support from Will and the team to enable him to continue training towards his goal.

“I’ve had an injury break but am now focussed on qualifying in the domestic season which, hopefully, will get me to the World Champs in May next year and then to Paris in August,” says Ben who placed ninth in Tokyo.

The support and funding from HPSNZ have, says Ben, helped beyond words.  “I get frontline experience in youth work and music to help guide me to a better pathway for the athletics after life which has only been possible through the internship.”

Will says it has been a very successful internship with Ben.  “We are happy to be very flexible with his Paralympics mission and the mahi he needs to do to achieve his goals.

“The bigger vision is his work in the future and to that end we’re excited to be able to offer him a position at the Trust when his internship ends.  We’ve been able to fast track Ben’s development through HPSNZ’s internship which in turn allows us to fully support his career ambitions long term.”

Credit: Alisha Lovrich