Graduate Profile

Cecil Oppert

Cecil Oppert - Social Services

Caseworker, Salvation Army

“Someone in social work introduced me to this field and recommended I apply for a scholarship to study. I am a truck driver and digger driver by trade and I didn’t believe I could study at a tertiary level because I left school early. I started with the Mental Health and Addictions course in Kerikeri, and continued on to completed my degree at the Whangarei campus in Social Work.

“I did distance learning at Massey for a while but NorthTec suited me better because it’s face to face learning. I was surprised that I was able to achieve this level of study.

“Our class had students from South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, India, and England as well as sixth generation pakeha, so we are learning many different perspectives. The tutors put me in a tuakana (supporting) role.”

"My family and I have moved from Kaitaia to Whangarei and since the beginning of 2018, I am working as a Caseworker for the Salvation Army Bridge programme. I’ve been clean and sober for 24 years and there is so much need for male role models. I work alongside other clinicians in the Drug and Alcohol field and I cherish the learning I got from NorthTec, as the teaching prepared me for this role. My goals are and have always been to walk along those in the community who struggle with the nature of addiction. I am passionate about this role and see myself here for some time yet."

"My wife has now started the Bachelor of Applied Social Work as well, and I couldn't be happier."

“The biggest thing I’ve learnt in this journey is not to doubt your learning abilities. You can do anything you want to once you remove your own mind blocks.”

Thank you to all the staff of NorthTec (especially those in Kaitaia) who were the biggest inspiration that I had in my years of study, they stood beside my, guided me, taught me, and supported me to where I am today. I still get support from staff today in the role that I have here at work."

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