Timaru-based student Michelle Marshall took the leap to follow her career passion, moving from the corporate world of human resources, into studying for a Bachelor of Nursing. With her Ara Leadership Scholarship, Michelle has been able to take on full-time study, putting the scholarship towards course fees and childcare costs for her two young boys. In the future Michelle aspires to help her local community as a nurse, and eventually transfer her skills and experience into a leadership position.
What Ara programme are you studying?
The Bachelor of Nursing in Timaru.
Why did you apply for this scholarship?
After several years working in recruitment and human resources I made the decision to return to tertiary education, which meant my whānau had to make financial sacrifices to enable me to complete my study. I have two wee boys and I applied for this scholarship to assist in funding my course fees and childcare expenses.
How did you pitch yourself in your scholarship application?
I talked about my leadership endeavours including recently being employed as the HR Manager at Barker’s in Geraldine, and as a member of the Senior Leadership Team. Additionally, I currently hold the voluntary role of Chairperson for North Haven Governance Committee (the childcare centre which my two children attend).
What impact did this scholarship have for you?
This Leadership scholarship from Ara has been hugely beneficial for my family in allowing me to study full-time while assisting by partially funding my childcare costs for this year.
What would you say to learners thinking about applying for scholarships?
Explore the many scholarship options available on the Ara scholarships page. Every little bit of monetary support helps to ensure you can complete your studies, even when you make the crazy decision to have a career change in your late thirties!
Why did you choose to study at Ara?
I’m based in Timaru, and to be able to attain a nursing degree locally was a big deciding factor. I’ve found that the lecturers in Timaru have a great reputation. When I was considering making a career change, they were so helpful, being available to meet with me, answer all my questions and overall being hugely supportive.
Why did you choose to change careers to nursing?
I’ve wanted to be a nurse since I was a kid, but circumstance led me to try other things and before I knew it, I was in the corporate world. Having my children gave me the opportunity to "reset" on what was important, and for me having the opportunity to provide a health care service in the community was too big to pass up!
What are you short- and long-term career goals?
Short-term, I’m balancing working part-time for Barker’s as an HR consultant, while studying full-time at Ara. Looking to the future I aspire to join the South Canterbury District Health Board in a community-focused nursing role and eventually look to move into a leadership position. In New Zealand, nursing is complex, undervalued and a critical part of our community and I’m passionate about being an advocate for equity and fairness within the profession.
What advice would you give to others considering study?
There is no gift greater than having the freedom to learn. The Ara learning environment is challenging, supportive and full of variety.