The small settlement of Glenorchy, gateway to some of Middle Earth’s finest scenery, is a far cry from the bustle and bright lights of say Rotterdam, Sydney and Singapore.
Scotland-born SIT2LRN project management facilitator Patrick Eardley knows that for sure, having travelled the world, making foreign places home for years at a time. And during the journey he’s gone from being a university graduate with a degree in electrical and electronic engineering, to a global IT consultant who’s managed and directed several high profile telecommunications and software development companies.
According to Patrick though, his life could have been very different. “I grew up in Edinburgh, playing football. I played it at quite a high level and had the potential to play professionally.” But an injury which required surgery to his nose put the kibosh on his football dream and he turned to study instead.
His first job was in the Netherlands, where he lived for four years before moving to Perth, Western Australia. He spent seven of his 14 years working for Motorola Australia, starting out as a programme manager in 1998. Stints as operations manager in both Sydney and Perth followed. By 2003, Patrick was managing director of the company.
After eight years in Singapore working for a new company focusing on software development, Patrick was again looking for a new challenge. “Eighteen months ago I was considering whether to move to China, India or New Zealand.”
He admits that during the 10 years he and his wife lived in Sydney they had never visited New Zealand. It was only four years ago that they came, following a recommendation from good friends in Singapore. They spent a couple of weeks travelling around but were forced to cancel the Christchurch part of the holiday, given the earthquakes and lack of accommodation there. As a result they headed to Queenstown. “Our friends recommended we stay at Blanket Bay (and) we fell in love with the area.”
Now they’re at home nestled on the northern shores of Lake Wakatipu, about 45 minutes from Queenstown, with their three Russian Blue cats. Patrick is working on developing apps for iPhone and iPad in addition to his consulting work, enjoying photography around the area during his leisure time.
He joined SIT2LRN a year ago and oversees 11 unit standards - relating to communications management, human resource management and working in teams - across both the certificate and diploma project management courses. At any one time he can be managing up to 60 students. Many have construction backgrounds, while Fonterra is also putting some of its employees through the courses.
Patrick says that although his industry experience is different, the principles and concepts are the same, regardless of the size of the project. The majority of his communication with students is via email and Blackboard, although he’s keen to use Skype more and enjoy face to face conversation.
But regardless of that, he’s sure of one thing: “For me, the students think they are the ones learning. But I learn from the questions asked of me. I am keen for people to ask as many questions as they want.”