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‘Now I wake up happy to go to work’. Otago Polytechnic learner uses new skills to help others.

Two weeks after completing her first tertiary qualification, Dunedin resident Alana Clarke transitioned into a new career with a charity that supports Māori Mental Health and Addiction.

Alana began working towards the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Administration and Technology) in October 2020.

She first heard about the programme from a friend whose family member completed it on campus. Alana was excited to discover that she could study this programme online on the eCampus NZ platform as it meant she could work while she studied part-time.

“I thought about it for a while and eventually I thought, stuff it, I’m going to do it!” Alana said.

This leap of faith quickly paid off, and she successfully completed the qualification in February of this year.

“I left school early and completed NCEA Level 1 & 2 through Community College. This was a huge achievement for me, and I was so proud of myself when I finished,” she said.

Alana is quick to thank her online facilitators for their support, though it is clear that her dedication and perseverance were the driving force behind her success.

“I was working night shifts cleaning a private hospital while I was studying. The flexibility of online learning really helped,” she said.

Alana has enjoyed using what she learned in her new role in administration and reception.

“The courses gave me confidence with using MS Office programmes like Excel,” she said.

Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Charitable Trust, which is the trust Alana works for, provides support to individuals and whānau experiencing issues with mental health and addiction. Alana finds this mahi incredibly rewarding.

“I love it. I never understood why people would say that they enjoyed going to work or loved their job before I started working here. I actually wake up early and am happy to go to work,” she said.

She loves everything about her working environment.

“I love seeing the difference in people each time they come in. I also love the team I work with. We’re a really close, small team so it’s awesome having their support and being able to support them too,” she said.

“Working here has changed the way I look at things.”