Thomas Goddard might have dreamt about becoming a pro-wrestler but it was SIT2LRN that’s enabled him to turn a real dream into reality.
After leaving school, he worked in a Christchurch fast-food restaurant while he waited for his wrestling dream to come true.
“Although I was taking on learning opportunities in my job as they arose, such as management and first aid courses, nothing was moving quick enough.”
He decided to take a risk and move to Wellington to train as a wrestler, spend time with his younger siblings, and study at university.
Thomas had numerous jobs during this time – salesman, barista, receptionist, fast food manager, and foreign exchange – and realised he had a “subconscious passion growing for the health and safety of workers”.
"During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was working as a foreign exchange consultant when I was made redundant. At this point I decided I wanted to learn a skill that would not only keep me employed though times like pandemics, but also something that could lead me to achieving more meaningful and rewarding work.”
His whānau identified SIT2LRN’s New Zealand Diploma in Workplace Health and Safety Management (Level 6) as being the most suitable option for him.
“I always had a passion for learning, but with my loved ones based all over the country, I always struggled to settle into one place to stay put and study. That was always one less stress thanks to SIT2LRN’s distance learning. It didn't matter where I was throughout New Zealand, as long as I simply logged in and put in the time and mahi,” he said.
“This newfound flexibility around my study also lead to me achieving better results than I ever imagined I was capable of.”
Thomas is full of praise for the course and facilitators, who he described as supportive and encouraging.
“When I got top marks, I learnt why. When I didn't, I was provided with valuable and clear constructive feedback to guide me in the right direction, providing me with countless learning opportunities highlighting my strengths and areas for improvement.
“I was soon averaging a grade of A thanks to both the structure of the course and the support from my facilitators.”
After completing his studies, Thomas immediately saw the value of having a SIT2LRN qualification.
“Once I had it listed on my CV, I was getting far more job opportunities, landing successful interviews with high-profile companies including Government-run organisations.”
He’s now working as a Health & Safety Coordinator where he translates his theoretical knowledge gained while studying into practical work.
“The diploma taught me nearly everything that I needed to excel and thrive in my current position. It has left me with invaluable tools including SWOT analyses, risk assessments, site specific safety plans, and root-cause analyses that have all been useful to have for when needed in the workplace.
“The range of papers helped me to understand risk management, continuous improvement processes, health and safety management standards, ACC systems, and what good governance in health and safety looks like.
“I’m now in a position where I'm able to help others learn their duties in health and safety, and able to support organisations to not only achieve compliance but to also incorporate continuous improvement processes to achieve an integrated safety culture with high levels of engagement.
While professional wrestling remains his number-one passion, it’s more of a hobby while he pursues a career where he can now make a difference to the lives of workers – their health, safety, and wellbeing. And, he’s also considering more study soon – through SIT2LRN of course.