From accessing reliable internet to dealing with COVID-19 restrictions, completing her NZ Certificate in Business wasn’t always easy for Glenda Barry, from Papua New Guinea, but the effort was worth it.
Glenda, who works for the Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority, studied the New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management) – Level 4, Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) business qualification.
How Glenda found the course
The FFA collaborated with Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) and their online learning partner eCampus NZ, to tailor the course content to meet tuna fisheries industry requirements.
“This was an empowering course. It enabled me to fully appreciate my current position and the impact on my professional career,” Glenda said.
“I am now looking at creating an operational office environment that is encouraging, supportive, and provides a work culture that enables effective and efficient enforcement and compliance.”
For Glenda, the biggest challenge was balancing time between work and study commitments. She is part of the operational arm of the Papua New Guinea National Fisheries Authority, which is a busy role, but working full-time wasn’t her only hurdle.
Another major issue encountered was the poor internet connectivity, which made things difficult for online learning. This was overcome with the help of eCampus NZ and Facilitator Melanie Baynes.
“Like many other small Pacific Island countries, we are also continuously having difficulties with quality internet services,” Glenda said.
While a planned face-to-face workshop in Fiji was unable to go ahead due to COVID-19, the group of learners connected over Zoom, from various countries.
“Honestly, it wasn’t easy for me in the first two months of study,” Glenda said.
“This course was my first experience of online studies whilst working full-time.”
“With the great support of our course facilitator, I have learned a lot of online features that greatly supported my learning progress, including the zoom discussions with other students and our course facilitator.”
How eCampus NZ helped Glenda
Glenda is grateful for the role eCampus NZ played in her learning, by not only providing a user-friendly learning platform, but also a quality and skilled course facilitator who enabled suitable, effective learning.
eCampus NZ learning designers worked with subject matter experts, to make the online course content and case studies directly relevant to the fisheries industry.
This helped learners make instant connections between what they were learning and how it may be applied within their workplace.
The group was learning online from nine different countries in the Pacific, including Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands, Palau, and Tonga.
“It has been an absolute privilege to virtually connect with people all of over the world in our shared languages,” said eCampus NZ Facilitator Melanie Baynes, who has lived and worked in Papua New Guinea.
“I have had the honour of supporting the group as they work towards qualifications that will further their leadership skills and careers.”
Why did Glenda decide to study?
For Glenda, studying online was the only option, given the COVID-19 situation and her work commitments. Her main reason for study was to upskill for her leadership role.
“I know I have some qualities of leadership, however, to be effective in my responsibilities, I have been waiting a long time to study a programme like this, and so this opportunity was timely for me,” she said.
“One thing that stood out for me was the Staff Appraisal process. This was very crucial, as, during my time in my role, there has never been an appraisal process.
“It really pains me knowing that for a number of years, this important assessment of employee performance has not taken place.”
Now that she has achieved her qualification, Glenda has a feeling of accomplishment, knowing that she is able do her job better, which includes supervising more than 10 officers.
As a senior fishery officer, Glenda is mostly responsible for supervising and coordinating the operations, surveillance and compliance activities of the division, with four other officers.
It is the job she started off working in when she first joined the organisation after graduating. But with leadership responsibilities, she has realised that she needed to develop management skills too.
“I saw that my previous qualification and experience alone was not sufficient,” she said.
“People comprise of a variety of personal attributes, different level of qualification, work ethics and professional experiences.”
“I need to understand some basic management skills to manage people to achieve our work objectives.”
FFA’s role in the programme
Based in Honiara, Solomon Islands, the FFA plays an important role in helping its seventeen members manage, control and develop their tuna fisheries. FFA members work in a complex environment with specialised skills.
“I realised I am managing and regulating a resource which generates income for my country (Papua New Guinea) and my commitment to this work I am doing is benefitting the government of this nation, including the people,” Glenda said.
“Fisheries are a diverse and sophisticated industry that possess many challenges and I enjoy challenging myself to also keep up with the industry development.”
The FFA was able to offer scholarships to help fisheries employees in FFA member countries access the programme when it became available in March 2021.
Given everything Glenda has learnt, she recommends others in similar roles consider taking the New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management) – Level 4.
“I have made recommendations for a few other senior colleagues of mine who are frontline managers, to take up these very useful training skills,” she said.