Gray is studying the New Zealand Diploma in Web Development and Design (Level 5). He chose the qualification as he enjoyed learning programming and digital technology while at school, and his digital technology teacher recommended it as future pathway for him.
“As well as my teacher believing in my abilities, I also wanted to find out if I should take my learning further into tertiary education,” says Gray. “The diploma was also offered fees free under the TTAF scheme, which was also a contributing factor in my decision to enrol.”
Gray says there are a lot of benefits to online distance learning. “I have kept my part-time job while studying the diploma, which has allowed me to increase my savings for further tertiary study. It has also allowed me to study on my own time schedule, which I find really helpful because it lets me fit my study in around work.” Gray says he was dealing with a chronic pain condition when he initially began his diploma which would debilitate him on some days. “Distance learning has also allowed me to still study but also have a break from a crammed school schedule, as I graduated from high school the year before I enrolled with Open Polytechnic. I also get to study in my own environment, which as an anxious person means that I don't get burnt out nearly as often as I did in high school.”
Joining the Student Advisory Group in September 2021, he says “I am looking forward to contributing to topics involving accessibility, LGBTQ+ and tangata whenua, where I feel it is appropriate for me to do so.”
Looking to the future Gray says he wants to be constantly learning, especially in the digital technology field. “For work, I want to use my knowledge and skills in a job that I find fulfilling.”