Tayla Smith’s career is shaping up to be everything she’d hoped it would be.
After completing a degree at Ara, the former Papanui High School student is working at Tangata Atumotu Trust as a smoke-free practitioner.
“I go out into the community and support our Pasifika individuals and families to become smoke-free,” she says.
She got the role after graduating from Ara at the end of 2018 with a Bachelor of Applied Science. The degree offers three specialisations – human nutrition, sport and exercise science, and health promotion.
Tayla says she chose the latter because “I’m extremely passionate about working alongside vulnerable communities to achieve equitable health outcomes. And I’d heard great things about Ara from many people.”
At Ara, Tayla enjoyed studying alongside like-minded people who were passionate about health-related topics. She says the tutors were supportive and the course exceeded her expectations. “We learned about a variety of topics around health which helped me figure out what areas I’m most passionate about.”
In the third year of her degree, Tayla got a taste of her current work through a work placement at Te Hā Waitaha, based at Community and Public Health (CDHB). “That gave me a greater understanding of the importance of supporting individuals and the families in creating healthier habits.”
Tayla’s keen to undertake more study in the future “so I can continue to make a positive impact in improving health outcomes for our Pasifika communities”.