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Source: Massey University

Leading Electronic Technician Ryan Langford at Massey’s Auckland campus.

Clocking up thousands of nautical miles and traversing oceans whilst serving fulltime in the Royal New Zealand Navy has not deterred Leading Electronic Technician Ryan Langford from working towards a degree.

LET Langford embarked on his study journey with Massey University in 2017 when he enrolled in a Bachelor of Science. As a qualified Electronic Technician in the Royal New Zealand Navy for more than five years, he was already technically savvy and enjoyed that line of work. When the opportunity arose to study, he chose computer science – an area he has a keen interest in and is relevant to his career in the Navy.

“I love working with computers, so I really wanted to study and know more about them,” he says.

Studying while working fulltime and mostly via distance is no mean feat, especially in the Navy where you can spend extended periods of time away at sea. Working around other logistical problems, such as not having internet access when assignments were due or not being on solid ground around exam time, meant careful planning and preparation.

“At times when my assignments were due, and I knew I wouldn’t have access to the internet, I’d have to contact my lecturers to ask for an extension. Luckily, they were really understanding and accommodating, and it all worked out.”

Now in his final year of study, Ryan is able to complete the remainder of his degree fulltime on the Auckland campus, which he says he’s “thoroughly enjoying”.

When asked what advice he would give to others considering study, he says, “If you are going to be working fulltime and studying, it needs to be something that you’re passionate about otherwise you won’t make the time for it. You’ll have to give up some of your free time including your weekends which isn’t easy at times.”

But he adds that the hard work and sacrifices are all worth it in the end. “My degree will open up opportunities for me that I hadn’t considered before.”

In 2020, Massey University and the New Zealand Defence Force signed a Relationship Agreement enabling NZDF personnel like Ryan, to access opportunities and benefits such as special tuition rates when enrolling in any qualification with Massey. The NZDF/Massey partnership also offers these opportunities and benefits to immediate family members of NZDF personnel, ex-serving personnel and veterans.

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