Silver Ferns netballer Bailey Mes, who has 69 international caps to her name, has proven that being a professional sportswoman is no barrier to continued learning.
Bailey, 30, bolted into the New Zealand team in 2012, making her debut against South Africa’s Proteas.
After falling out of favour following the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Bailey played her way back into the Silver Ferns and was a member of the victorious side that won the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England earlier this year.
She’s played domestic netball in Auckland and Christchurch, and after moving to Christchurch in 2015, was looking for a distance-learning course which would fit around her sporting commitments.
“I have always loved photography and design and was wanting to further my knowledge and continue to build a career outside of netball,” Bailey said.
“The format of the Diploma in Digital Photography through SIT2LRN seemed like a great fit.”
The Diploma has been designed to provide graduates with skills and knowledge that are directly relevant to working or further training in the arts/photography sector and provide a base for learners to progress to more advanced studies or employment in photography.
“I enjoyed the course, in particular that there was a wide range of content covered throughout its duration,” Bailey said.
“It was great in terms of providing a good mixture of theory based and practical content – covering a number of different techniques while simulating real-life situations that you're required to carry out as a professional photographer.”
A highlight for Bailey was putting together the final portfolio for the diploma.
“I loved creating the final portfolio, having the freedom to really focus in on something I was passionate about. I chose to highlight the 'off court' aspects of being a professional athlete that people don't see or realise.”
Fitting studies around the rigours of professional sport meant being prepared was vital, Bailey said.
“It's always a challenge juggling top level sport with study but the flexibility of the course made things a lot easier,” she said.
“The hardest part was finding time in amongst netball commitments to actually go out on photography expeditions, both in a variety of different places and using a number of different techniques. I had to be very organised and quite creative to balance this at times.”
However, the opportunity to challenge herself, away from the netball court, also had its benefits, Bailey said.
“Apart from juggling the two schedules, I actually loved the contrast that the diploma provided – being in a completely different field to professional sport,” she said.
“The nature of the course itself meant that I had the freedom to reduce the number of papers I was doing during busy times, and pick more up in the off season.”
Bailey has recently started part-time work editing and preparing sports images for use in online media platforms, but taking her own photos is still something which she has a passion for and she would love this to feature in her future career after netball.