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Armand van Rooyen is going to be a social worker. He wants to work with youth and families, because as a youth he would have like some extra support.
“I felt a need to help other people in my life. I just want to be the change I want to see in the world, I guess.”
To become a social worker and to help others, Armand needs to start from the beginning. After moving to New Zealand with his family when he was 7 years old, Armand struggled with his English and learning in school.
“I dropped out of school at NCEA level 2, so I need to first compete the Study & Career Prep programme at NorthTec. Not being in school for a couple of years has made it a bit challenging, especially essay writing, but that’s where the support at NorthTec comes in. My tutors are so helpful and on to it, and the whole class is like a little family as well. We all help each other out, we don’t judge anyone – it’s just a supportive culture.”
Armand has studied with NorthTec before, completing a NZ Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory, but after 2 weeks into his apprenticeship, an accident involving a longboard made Armand rethink his career.
“I had to have two surgeries on my wrist and the surgeon advised against physical activity so the apprenticeship was out. But it made me realise that I did want to help others and I am glad it has taken me on this study journey.
“I like studying at NorthTec because it’s close to home. This course will build up my foundational knowledge and then I’m excited to go on and study my Bachelor’s and then onto my Master’s and then I would love to even pursue a PhD!”
“Getting a good understanding of the basics is essential to improve so that I can later have enough knowledge and...
“My mate did the Sport and Rec programme in Whangarei and suggested I do the level 3 and 4 Career Preparation Certificates because I was into health and fitness. I had dropped out of school and was depressed from doing nothing, so this has woken up my motivation again.”
“I’m enjoying the anatomy and nutrition subjects the most which really surprises me, but I struggle a bit with some of the academic study so am getting support for that. I’m also doing a personal training certificate online, plus I have a couple of trial boxing clients in Kaikohe so keeping things balanced is a big of a juggle.”
“Being with the other students is pretty cool and I’m getting more confident now to stand up and make presentations. I’m the only one in this level 4 course wanting to get into NorthTec’s Sport and Rec programme, but this option means I can then apply for AUT’s Bachelor of Sport and Recreation or physiotherapy training.”
“Getting a good understanding of the basics is essential to improve so that I can later have enough knowledge and experience to do my dream job of coaching athletes.”
“Completing this programme will be a huge influence on my children. They are watching me do this and are already so...
I’ve started my learning journey and I want to say to other young mothers – if I can do this, anyone can.
“I’m amazed at my own ability to learn. Doing this course has helped me realize I’m not as stupid as I thought. This is my first step on the learning ladder.”
“Since I was five years old, I wanted to be either a doctor or a lawyer – and to have five kids. I’ve had six kids and for the last 13 years my priority has been being a Mum. I did cleaning jobs and bits and pieces but I’ve always wanted to do more…one day. I’ve had huge doubts that I could study and get educated.”
“I’ve been through heaps with CYF and that pushed enough buttons to motivate me to want to change some things so people don’t have to go through what we have. I want to do this to help mothers and children.”
“The social side of being here around people has been challenging for me. I had grown to not like people but I’ve even been able to stand up and talk in front of people here. There’s great support.”
“I’ve got the confidence now to maybe go on and do the Mental Health and Addictions course and go on into Social Work.”
“I still dream of being a doctor or lawyer. My son was in ICU at four weeks old and the dedication of the doctors there saved his life. You could tell they were not just doing a job – their heart was in it. I’d love to be able to have impact like that as a paediatrician, or to work as a family lawyer to make a difference in the lives of children.”
“But for now, I’ve started my learning journey and I want to say to other young mothers – if I can do this, anyone can.”
Some aspects of science are a challenge but once I get the breakthrough moment and understand something, I love it...
“I was home schooled in rural Hokianga so I’m loving having a teacher in a classroom and other students for support. When my parents moved to Whangarei I switched to Correspondence School then after six months I had some personal struggles and found it harder to be motivated.”
“I had an epiphany just before turning 18. I realized I was leaving school with next-to-nothing and needed to do something to turn my life around. I contacted NorthTec and asked for advice to stair-step my way into study. We narrowed the choices down to nursing and social services and I chose social services but that needed level 3 Foundation Studies, so this is my start point.”
“Some aspects of science are a challenge but once I get the breakthrough moment and understand something, I love it. We have three cool tutors who all have different styles and I’m learning lots. I’m back into the rhythm of study, I have a goal to keep motivated, and I’ve just bought a car.”
“When I complete this course I’ll go on with more study either in social services or nursing, then my ultimate job would be to help people from unsafe homes and from off the street. I’m keen to help them with their emotional and mental states and to give them skills to be self-empowering. In the meantime I work a weekend job and I’m a volunteer at the local fire brigade.”
We have a strong class bond in the course because we’re all motivated to move our lives forward. We’re all here for...
“I want to catch up with some basics so I can do a Bachelor in Sport and Recreation. Until now, my life has been more about sport than study so it’s great to be getting back on track with studies knowing I’m going in a focussed direction.”
“We have a strong class bond in the course because we’re all motivated to move our lives forward. We’re all here for different reasons so it makes an interesting mix of people.”
“My next step is to apply for the Certificate in Sport and Recreation course, then onto the degree so I can get work in the industry either here or in the army. My dream is to work as a personal trainer then get into the business side of fitness and recreation with my own gym and maybe a clothing brand.”
“It’s important to keep your motivation up by doing something you’re set on doing yourself, rather than what others have said to do. Take the first small step then the next, and keep going in your motivated direction.”
With the help of the tutors here I now understand that people all learn differently and that I can learn. I have the...
“I’ve always wanted to be a vet nurse but I had learning difficulties at school so I just shut the possibility down. I left school with no qualifications but now at aged 22 with a four year old, I’ve taken the first steps to realize what I thought was my impossible dream.”
“With the help of the tutors here I now understand that people all learn differently and that I can learn. I have the right help here. I dreaded school but I really like coming to the course and I’ll be able to into vet nursing when I pass Foundation Level 3.”
“This is getting me into study and I’m on a totally new life pathway. My whole sense of who I am has changed and I will now be able to contribute to the family more on every level.”
At the end of next year I can start studying my Vet Nursing through Tauranga Polytech. I may do a computer course so that I can help with reception at a vet clinic too.”
“Now I can actually see myself doing this. I can actually let the dream in. I want people out there with learning difficulties who feel they can’t progress, to know that NorthTec caters to all different learning styles. They make it possible to take the steps to turn your dream into reality.”
"We have heaps of peer support. The other students and tutors are easy to be around so it’s given me confidence. I’ve...
“It’s a total surprise to me that I’m doing nursing. The tutor from forestry here convinced me to do this foundation course to get into nursing. I had moved up north from Hamilton because my Dad lives up here and I realized it was time to upskill. I thought about the course, decided to do it, then found out two other family members on Dad’s side had had nursing careers.”
“I’m loving learning new things – especially human biology. I’ve never considered myself academically smart but I realize that we can learn anything if we just have the will power and the drive. And I have that now.”
“We also have heaps of peer support. The other students and tutors are easy to be around so it’s given me confidence. I’ve now got a goal and a plan of how to get there.”
“Next year I’ll do the nursing degree in Whangarei so I’ll either move there or stay at the marae during the work week and come back up here weekends.”
“I’d love to be head nurse at one of the hospitals. I know it’s a long term goal but I’m keen to devote myself to it. NorthTec has given me a whole new opportunity and experience. It shows that it’s great to be open to surprises in life.”