Student Profile

Ryan Donaldson - Social Work

Ryan Donaldson - Social Work

“I’m a young father. I had a daughter when I was 15 and was supported by a social worker, and I knew then that I wanted to work with people and support other teen dads.”

“To that end, a few years ago I was one of the founding members of Whangarei Youth Space and I still work there. Being there has been my motivation to step up and do this training to enable me to be of more service and to better benefit my community. Prior to doing this, I did the Mental Health and Addictions Certificate when I was 17 and then worked in the mental health unit at the hospital.”

“I always knew I’d come to NorthTec to do the degree when I could, and I love how much I’m learning. As well as learning about myself, we learn about the way people live in the world and how systems and organisations like WINZ and CYF (now Oranga Tamariki) work. We’ve also learnt about the history of Aotearoa which is really valuable to me and my kids who are Maori. The course has helped me from a personal level right through to broadening my whole worldview and has given me tools for my kete that I can use every day.” 

“My biggest challenge is balancing my work commitments, my fulltime study here, and family. I love learning in class, ask lots of questions and get as much work done there as I can. I’m the only male in the class and as students we learn as much from each other as we do from the tutors. We’re on the same journey together, share our stories, and have developed a strong bonding. The tutors really challenge us to think differently and they do it in a supportive way.”

“Getting this degree will open up a lot more career options for me. I want to work at a level that makes change in the Ministry of Social Development. I am planning on doing my placement at Oranga Tamariki for a while and I’m currently work at a NGO (Non-Government Organization, but I want to end up working in social policy somewhere at government level so I can help improve things for my greater community.”


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