- Continuous Improvement Manager, Dulux New Zealand
From creating engineering drawings to working in cross functional teams and analysing information for review, James Tala says that working towards his Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Mechanical Engineering) gave him confidence in his own ability and a desire to achieve more.
James, had been out of high school for 12 years before deciding to study with the Open Polytechnic, said that he decided to study as a means to further his career.
“Studying by distance allowed me to continue working and earning money while studying towards a formal qualification,” James explains.
“It also allows me ability to plan my study around life, being able to juggle family, work and study,” whose family is originally from Tokelau and Samoa.
Study benefits career
In his busy role as Continuous Improvement Manager for Dulux New Zealand, James’ responsibilities include developing, implementing and monitoring safety quality and efficiency improvements in the manufacturing plant.
“I have been able to use many of the skills that I’ve gained through study in my working life, from creating engineering drawings to working in cross functional teams and analysing and presenting information. The engineering drawing courses I have done have definitely been invaluable during projects that I have worked on,” he says adding that he usually finds time to study in the evenings after putting the kids to bed.
“As assignment due dates get closer I’ll normally do a lot more study during weekends. My family has had to cope with less quality time but they have been really supportive. ”
James says that the study materials he works through have been well laid out and easy to follow.
“I haven’t needed much direct contact with tutors during my studies, but the contact I have had has always been excellent. I use the online system a lot to check important dates and review my study records.”
Looking to the future
With a goal of finishing his qualification within the next five years, James says he would love to eventually take on a project engineering role and gain a second qualification with an IT focus.
While there have been times where he has been busy at work and study has been really tough, James says that anything is possible with the right motivation and support.
“I didn’t think I would get the chance to study again after leaving high school but here I am. If the opportunity presents itself- take it!”