When business slowed last year due the COVID-19 nationwide lockdown and travel restrictions, entrepreneur and mum-of-four, Sam Daly, chose to use her spare time to upskill.
Sam and her husband started O’Brien’s Furniture Movers in Wellington in 2018, after deciding to capitalise on their previous experience in the industry by starting their own business. By last year, the business was a full-time job for both of them.
“We were building momentum before the lockdown. Then COVID happened, and it screeched completely to a halt,” Sam said.
Determined to keep her business moving forward, Sam realised that the lockdown presented an opportunity for her to upskill.
“I was already thinking about studying, and the lockdown made me realise I should do something while I was stuck at home,” she said.
Looking for a qualification to help her with her business, Sam decided to enrol in the New Zealand Certificate of Business (Introduction to Small Business) with The Universal College of Learning (UCOL).
“I’m so glad I did, because 100% of what I learned will be linked to the business,” she said.
Sam needed a study option that worked around her busy life, so she decided to study fully online via eCampus NZ.
“My older son has special needs, which means I have to be at home a lot,” she said.
She believes that having the option to learn online made it possible for her to study.
“It was really good not having to be in a location every day at a certain time. I was able to pick up and do my study when it suited me,” she said.
“With my son’s health, I would’ve found it quite difficult to maintain that kind of commitment if I had to go to school,” she said.
At first, Sam had her reservations about studying.
“I was concerned because I dropped out of school quite young,” she said.
But Sam gained new confidence as she progressed through her courses, and she successfully completed the qualification at the end of January this year. Through this experience, she has discovered a love of learning.
“It was probably the best I’ve ever done with schoolwork. I’ll be looking at doing more in the future because I really enjoyed it,” she said.
Sam is already applying what she learned to her business, which has picked up again over the past year.
“Even though I felt like I knew what I was doing, having to look at all of the aspects of the business and how it worked made such a significant difference to the business and how we’ll run it going forward,” she said.
Sam believes that her learning journey has also had a positive impact on her kids.
“I think it’s been great for my children to see me study and get excited about the grades I’m getting. It’s helped them get excited about their schooling,” she said.