Andrew Wood wanted to challenge himself and get back into tertiary study so he enrolled with the Open Polytechnic. He chose the Diploma in Environmental Management as he wanted to study something which was both relevant to his work in the Council and which would also allow him to further explore his interest in the environment.
Distance learning works well
Throughout his working life Andrew has undertaken a number of tertiary level qualifications including a masters degree in Social Services Management done part time through Oxford Brookes University in the UK, a diploma in Management and the first year of an MBA with the Open University. Andrew was familiar with distance learning and knew it worked for him.
“I enjoy the mental challenge of studying but I could not do it without the flexibility you get from distance learning.”
Study benefits work
Andrew works full time as manager of a policy and planning team for a council. He says his studies have been relevant and useful in his work, not only for himself but for his team also.
“With the study I have been able to fill some gaps in my knowledge. There is material I can directly apply to my role but also broaden my understanding of work in other areas of the Council, for example the Resource Management Act module gave me a more in-depth view of the work of the Consents Team. The Coastal and Marine Management module and my next one, Ecology, relate to work of the Environmental Services within Council.
“Staff in my team have also been able to use the materials as a reference source.”
Andrew has had to prioritise his time to fit his studies around his work, but says his employer and family have been supportive.
“I try and discipline myself to doing a couple of hours each weekday and then at the weekend. My family have been supportive although occasionally they say ‘you are always studying!’ My daughters are both currently doing tertiary study also so I hope my efforts may provide some encouragement.”
Not only has his study benefited him professionally, Andrew says he has gained new perspectives and interests.
“You are never “too old” to study and by doing so from time to time you both broaden your outlook and open new doors.”
Andrew hopes to one day be more involved either in a voluntary or work capacity with environmental issues. He would encourage anyone interested in the environment and wanting to take that interest further to “take the plunge and reap the benefits.”
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” he says.