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NorthTec learner Awa Tumai adds another string to her bow

eCampus Online Learner

“It’s never too late to learn,” says NorthTec learner Awa Tumai, who completed a New Zealand Diploma in Business (Leadership and Management) earlier this year.

Awa, a self-described ‘mature student’, began studying online with NorthTec and eCampus NZ during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown last year. Her reasons for enrolling to study were twofold.

“Firstly, I’ve always liked the idea of starting a business,” she said.

Awa is interested in using Māori rongoā to create home remedies for skin complaints and wanted to develop her understanding of what she would need to do to get a business off the ground.

Awa’s decision to study was also guided by her desire to learn something new and “add another string to [her] bow” for future work opportunities.

Based in Whangārei, she decided to enrol with NorthTec, having previously studied Te Reo Māori on campus. This time, Awa chose the online learning option so she could easily balance her study with her full-time job.

She says the experience was a learning curve.

“I’ve been working for over thirty years, so going back to study was a real eye-opener. I no idea about referencing – all that academic stuff was brand new to me. The learning material was fine, but getting used to writing assessments, referencing, and studying online was a challenge,” she said.

Having the confidence to reach out and ask for the help she needed meant that Awa quickly overcame these obstacles.

“I tapped into the help available. eCampus NZ and NorthTec have lots of good resources,” she said.

“I also got support from my tutors and through class discussions. A lot of people were in the same boat, so we could work it out together,” she said.

“I even asked my daughter and niece, who have gone through uni, for advice,” she said.

Awa successfully completed her diploma with impressive grades earlier this year. Her advice to other learners who have not studied for a long time is to make the most of the support available.

“Reach out and ask for help. No matter how old you are, don’t think that you know it all, because you don’t! There are definitely people at eCampus NZ and NorthTec who can help you,” she said.

“Once I mastered the skills I needed and asked for help, I absolutely loved it,” she said.

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