Shaping her future through lifelong learning

Watch Imogen's story here

With her heart set on helping the environment and a mind for business, Open Polytechnic graduate Imogen Tutty is aiming to use her newfound knowledge for a career in politics.  

Having previously studied a Diploma in Renewable Energy Engineering with another institution, Imogen then completed her Bachelor of Applied Science (Environment) through Open Polytechnic and, not stopping there, she is now working towards a Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting.

Imogen explains, “I've always had a strong draw towards wanting to protect the environment. I spent a lot of time in the outdoors growing up and I’m also quite business-minded, having owned my own business in Australia. I thought adding accounting to my environmental background gives me a larger scope, with more job opportunities and could give me a leg up in politics.”

Caring for the environment

Imogen’s love for the environment left her wanting to learn more. “Doing the Bachelor of Applied Science (Environment) furthered my understanding of the condition of New Zealand’s environment, and what possible steps can be taken to heal the earth,” she says.

“I not only learnt the basics and ecology of the environment but also the social and economic factors and regulations that impact the environment. The course provided me with real examples and led me through decision making, which will assist when I am posed with similar problems.”

Online and at home

As a mother to a young child and a business owner, Imogen found online learning was the answer to prepare for her family’s future, all from the comfort of home.

Kiwi-born Imogen explains, “At the time I was living in Australia and I always wanted to study in New Zealand. I was also a parent and working at the time, so I didn’t have time to be attending classes.”

“Because they specialise in online education, Open Polytechnic was my natural option.”

“Online learning gave me that ability to study from home, when I had free time. I could do it when I was available. Even if it was late at night or early in the morning before my daughter woke up. So it just worked to my schedule rather than me having to work to its schedule,” she explains.

Always learning

Imogen considers herself a lifelong learner. She says, “Learning develops your brain further, gives you a wider perspective and it starts to round you off a little bit more as a person.”

“Studying has made me look at a lot of things differently, I used to look at things at just face value and studying has taught me to stop doing that,” she says.

Having a strong passion for all things environmental didn’t stop Imogen from also developing her love of maths and numbers through studying accounting.

She says, “I think there's always more that you can learn. I’ll keep studying or learning in some shape or form whether I’ll do it in different fields, or potentially pushing myself further to do a master’s degree.”


Imogen graduated with her Bachelor of Applied Science (Environment) at Open Polytechnic’s Wellington ceremony in 2019 with her family cheering her on.

She says, “Graduating means a lot! It was the icing on the cake, symbolizing that you've done your work, you've built yourself up and you’ve finished. Walking off the stage was by far the biggest relief - I've actually done it and I've got something to prove it!”

“It was it was so special to be able to share it with my family, my mum wouldn’t stop crying!”

Changing the future

Looking to move into politics, Imogen wants to help shape New Zealand’s future.

“I'm currently working with a new political party. I'm trying to get their feet off the ground and get them registered. We're building it from the bottom up, so I would definitely like a career path going forward into politics.”

When asked what Imogen would say to someone thinking of studying, she replied, “Jump in. Just try it. I mean we really have nothing to lose. It's a great experience even if you find yourself in a subject you're not so sure you want to be in, you're still going to learn lots of things that are going to help you in life and just round you out that little bit more as a person. So yeah, I'd just say jump in and give it a go.”

Doing the Bachelor of Applied Science (Environment) furthered my understanding of the condition of New Zealand’s environment, and what possible steps can be taken to heal the earth.