After four years of study, Tira Hemana has graduated with a Bachelor of Bicultural Social Work, teaching her tamariki (children) that it’s never too late to start your learning journey.
At 52 years old, Tira has completed Te Wānanga o Aotearoa’s (TWoA) Ngā Poutoko Whakarara Oranga programme and is now studying a Postgraduate Diploma in Bicultural Professional Supervision to help her progress in her social work career.
“I wanted to show my children they can aspire to be anything. I want them to study and be qualified in something they are passionate about and the best way to illustrate that was to model it myself.”
With a passion for helping people and guiding them towards a positive future, Tira knew a career in social work was what she was meant to do.
At the start of her degree, Tira worked as a case manager for Work and Income but has since secured a job at Raukura Hauora o Tainui with the help of her social work qualification.
“Social work is a part of the key work I currently do in my job and my study was integral. Having this tohu (qualification) definitely helped with my employment prospects.”
Throughout her time studying, Tira has gained a life changing amount of knowledge but she is also very grateful for the friendships she made along the way.
It was these close friendships that made class an enjoyable and relaxed experience and Tira says they are a big reason she was able to make it through all those years of study.
“We were a collective and got through things together. I lost my partner in the middle of my degree and the awhi that came from the class was a standout moment for me.”
For those who are on the fence about studying, Tira encourages them to take the chance and begin their learning journey.
“I wish I started studying 20 years ago because I would be so much further in my career. It’s never too late to start and I think I’ve proven that. Have faith in yourself and just go for it.”
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