Becoming a social worker has been a twenty year dream for Alison Ririnui. A busy mother of seven children, it took one of her daughters studying at university to convince her that it was now her time to shine and turn this dream into a reality.
In 2009 Alison took the first step by enrolling in Te Timatanga – Certificate in Tertiary Study Level 2. She knew that this would give her the foundation for continuing on with higher level study.
“It had been thirty years since I was last at school, so I knew I’d have to start with the basics. Learning how to use a computer and write an essay were top priorities for me. The course really made us think about our personal aspirations and how to set life and career goals. It was amazing to see how we’d all grown in confidence over the programme.”
After graduating from Te Timatanga, Alison went on to complete Kahikatea - Certificate in Social Service Studies.
“This is where I started to get an understanding of the different areas of working within the social services sector. I really enjoyed learning about New Zealand history, the Treaty of Waitangi and New Zealand social policy.”
“The tutors were amazing. They spoke to us as equals and were very supportive. If we had any questions, the answers were always explained really well,” says Alison.
Alison’s life-long goal of becoming a social worker is well on the way to being achieved. She is now completing the University of Waikato’s Bachelor of Social Work degree taught at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.
“Kahikatea really helped me to get into university as well as giving me a great foundation for succeeding with my studies,” says Alison.
Alison is passionate about making a difference to people’s lives and looks forward to working within the community to make a positive impact on both personal and social well-being.