From unemployment to a Diploma
Karlos Sullivan was on the unemployment benefit and unsure what to do with his future when he attended an Open Day at NorthTec| Te Pūkenga. Now he’s two years into a bachelor’s degree in Sport and Recreation while working a part-time job.
“I went down to the open day and ended up meeting the Sport and Recreation tutors down at NorthTec | Te Pūkenga,” explains Karlos. “They introduced me to a few of the students who were doing the level 6 qualification. After talking to them about what they were doing in the course and the activities they did and I thought, yeah, I can do this.”
“I started with the Certificate in Exercise (level 4), then did the Level 5 Diploma. I think the biggest surprise was just getting this far, to be honest. When I first started, I feel I was just doing something for the sake of doing something you know what I mean? But then it’s slowly grown into something I’m passionate about and want to continue doing.”
Karlos is currently studying for the Diploma in Sport, Recreation, and Exercise (level 6). Next year he can pathway straight into the final year of a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation, an AUT degree that is taught at NorthTec | Te Pūkenga.
“I didn’t ever think I was going to go all the way through to level 7. I didn’t think I was one of those people that could,” says Karlos. “However, we did a field trip down to Auckland to go to the Blues practice facility and I met the head of strength and conditioning there. He told us his story, where he came from, and how he got there.
It was very relatable. I remember thinking that he was just like me, had come from the same background, and had similar experiences in the early stages of his career. It made that higher level of study seem more achievable than I initially thought. It normalised it. Higher education is for everyone.”
Karlos found that progressing through the levels each year helped break down his mental barriers to study.
“It’s only when I transitioned from the level 4 paper to the level 5 that I opened my eyes to how far I could go. I’ve learnt more and more each year. The tutors are also really supportive, they want you to succeed and help you in every way they can.”
Karlos is currently working part-time but has future goals once he’s finished his degree.
“I have a background in skateboarding and snowboarding and what I’ve seen lately is that those sports are being treated as more of a serious sport, rather than a hobby. I’d like to work in strength and conditioning for those types of sports as that’s what I’m passionate about. I’d also like to travel though, so I might look at getting work as a personal trainer on a cruise ship first and gain more experience in the industry.”