Age is no barrier when it comes to education says recent Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety graduate John Frampton.
John enrolled in the Southern Institute of Technology SIT2LRN distance learning programme when the company he was employed at sold his division.
He stayed on temporarily to assist with the transition to the new owners.
“Within my position, health and safety gradually became an integral part of my day-to-day working area, and while this was not my passion at the start, I became aware of the necessity for companies to be actively involved for the benefit of their employees,” says John.
Once the transition period had ended, John was approached by a health and safety professional to consider health and safety advisory as a possible career option.
“Given my age was possibly against me finding permanent, enjoyable employment and the distinct possibility of having to take any employment which provided a realistic income, health and safety advisory became both an attractive and viable option,” he says.
John says his professional health and safety mentor advised that the longevity of this new career path would depend on him obtaining a tertiary qualification.
“He and I looked at all the options and the Diploma of Occupational Health and Safety became the preferred option.”
After analysing the tertiary institutions who offered the diploma, SIT provided what he believed to be the best fit for his needs.
John’s previous association with SIT also sealed the deal as he was part of the team who helped guide the implementation of the Zero Fees scheme.
Initially John was sceptical of distance learning as an option, given his age and length of time out of a classroom environment and the IT requirements, however these fears were soon overcome with a little assistance from the team at SIT.
“The length of the course was able to be adjusted to suit my lifestyle,” says John.
He was granted permission to complete a recommended two year diploma in just 12 months and says his computer skills were tested to the point he almost gave the course away.
“I felt I was at a crossroads with age versus IT requirements, however the range of questions and the discussion boards, and the tutors gave me confidence that spurred me on,” John says.
“The unit standards offered in the course provided the range of information and skills from research and the reporting aspect greatly enhanced my knowledge of health and safety to be used in the field.”
John says the course exceeded his expectations through the knowledge gained and the methodical progress achieved.
“Finishing the diploma has given me a sense of achievement that age is not a barrier at this time of one’s life.
“It has been amazing to start in a new direction with an academic qualification and know you have taken your future into your own hands.”
John has been able to set up his own health and safety advisory business and feels he has the confidence necessary to discuss health and safety with companies at a professional level.
He says it has been an incredible journey experiencing the other side of the Zero Fees scheme, an idea that originated from a ‘think tank’ in Stewart Island all those years ago.
“It is incredible to think that a concept which originated on the back of a table napkin has grown to the extent that SIT is now probably the largest single growth industry over the last 10 years in Invercargill,” he says.
“I am of the view that SIT has established itself as one of the top tertiary providers in the country through its quality courses, like the Dip OSH and the innovations and initiatives like the zero fees and distance learning.”