Wendy Hawkes
Publish Date: Monday, 23 November 2020
Wendy Hawkes

New Zealand Certificate in Land Based Sustainability Practices (Level 3)

#SIT2LRN #Horticulture

How does an Auckland accountant end up living in Arrowtown studying land-based sustainabilty practices?

It’s an unusual combination that comes from a desire for a lifestyle change and the flexibility that SIT2LRN offers.

Originally from Auckland, Wendy Hawkes had spent almost nine years working at a golf course helping to run events, before deciding in her 30s to study for a commerce degree, with an emphasis on accounting and finance.

After graduating, she spent three years with EY (formerly Ernst & Young) in Auckland, and obtained her Chartered Accountants qualification.

“Having lived in Arrowtown previously and with family in Central Otago, I decided on a lifestyle change and moved down from Auckland at the end of 2017, working for a small Chartered Accountants  firm [McLean & Co] in Queenstown.”

Last year, an interest in sustainabilty, as well as a desire to keep learning, led her to begin studying towards the New Zealand Certificate in Land-Based Sustainability Practices through SITLRN.

“I found the outline of the course really interesting and a good chance to learn about issues that affect the local area. Queenstown has a lot of focus on development, growth and how to do this sustainably so the opportunity to learn about things that could impact on the local environment sounded great.”

The value of the course has already become apparent.

“Earlier this year I started a new position as an accountant with Compass Agribusiness Management in Arrowtown that specialises in farm management and advisory services.

Wendy realised that although she had the accounting aspect of the new role sorted, her study would provide that additional knowledge she would need around farming practices.

“It was a bit of a coincidence and good luck that my new role is in a similar field to my study,” she said.

“Anything I can use to expand my knowledge in my job will be a bonus – even some of the terminology and understanding of concepts.”

Her sister had completed a course in environmental management with SIT2LRN so Wendy was aware of the ability to study remotely.

“I did some research and found the course and went from there,” she said.

She expects the topics the course covers will provide her with an understanding of some farming situations, such as effluent management and practices that will be beneficial for the role.

“The first two papers covered soil, water quality, sustainable management and effluent. The following two have more of a focus on planting and horticulture, which is a nice mix.”

Although studying remotely meant she had to be self-motivated, she was enjoying the flexibility that the SIT2LRN course offered and the way it enabled her to fit study in around her work and life.

“It’s so easy to fit in and manage the workload, plus free fees!”

The support from SIT2LRN has been fantastic too, she said.

“From the text messages to confirm enrolment, feedback from facilitators on assignments and general encouragement, it is a very supportive environment,” she said.

“I’m currently completing my third of four papers in the certificate and have really enjoyed it. It’s so easy to study through SIT2LRN!”