- New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) (Level 4) (Community Facilitation)
- Support Worker for IDEA Services
Working in the care industry. Peter Coleman wanted to further his skills for the benefit of his clients, and academically apply himself to achieve his goal. Studying the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Social and Community Services) (Level 4) online with Open Polytechnic proved the best way to accomplish his aspirations.
Progression of skills
Through his role as a Support Worker for IDEA Services, Peter has already had his fair share of engaging and communicating with people, family and whānau in a way that respects their socio-cultural identity, experience and self-knowledge.
“I work at a residential facility supporting clients with an intellectual disabilities. Alongside that I also work as a one-on-one support worker,” says Peter.
No stranger to study, Peter has already completed certificates at Level 2 and 3 in his field of expertise. “The decision to continue tertiary studies was essentially to develop on the information that I have already gained in my role as a support worker.”
He says his employer was supportive of him studying through Open Polytechnic, with his manager verifying his academic assessments. “My manager was always really quick to send the verified assessments back, and they always gave me positive comments.”
Working long hours during the day meant that Peter needed a flexible study solution that could work around his busy schedule, and study with Open Polytechnic accommodated his needs.
“Online distance learning was really suitable for me as it enabled me to have flexibility in terms of learning. When I had the time, I was able to log on to the computer and continue each course as I pleased. One of the benefits was that I was able to learn in the comfort of my home environment.”
Through his job Peter often has to stay overnight to take care of his clients, which gave him the opportunity to knuckle down and study in the quiet periods while his clients were asleep.
While Peter said the courses involved several modules of work, he had no problem with motivation, which was vital in order for him to complete his qualification.
“There was definitely a lot of reading and studying involved, and because I’m in my sixty’s now, it’s been a long time since I had done anything that substantial academically. The way the coursework was laid out, with useful information and examples for each module made it interesting and gave me the motivation to continue studying and completing the assessments on time.
The certificate can be completed by studying part-time over a couple of years, but keen to gain his qualification, Peter completed the certificate in 10 months. “This equated to about 20-30 hours a week that I had to find. I didn't lack the drive or motivation, ultimately I signed up for the qualification and I was determined to do it in a set period of time. I found the courses really rewarding and relevant.”
Applying knowledge to professional practice
Peter says that his studies has shifted his perspective by educating and enlightening him towards more “Positive Risk” community involvement. His newly learned knowledge around Māori and Pasifika cultures has enabled him to have a more thorough understanding of cultural awareness, which he is able to apply to his career.
“One of the people that I support is of Māori/Malaysian descent, so I was able to incorporate what I had learned from that aspect of my studies to that particular situation.”
“The benefit of studying has allowed me to improve my abilities to support my clients and make better choices, especially when encouraging independency, participation, community activities and strengthening and maintaining relationships. I would say personally it's made me more understanding of others.”
“Now that I’ve completed my certificate I have a real sense of accomplishment, fulfilment and the knowledge of a job well done. To anyone wanting to study I would say to them that it will be really rewarding and beneficial. Ultimately, I’d express that if I can do it then they can do it!”