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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

17 seconds ago

Joe Symonds is about to complete his Graduate Diploma in Business at EIT.

Joe Symonds had been in the workforce for 20 years when he realised that to progress further in his career, he needed to change something.

In early 2023 he enrolled at the EIT School of Business.

Initially, Joe enrolled to do the Bachelor of Business, but he soon found that the experience he had gained in his recent years in various Management roles had enabled him to apply this experience through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), fast-forwarding his pathway towards a Graduate Diploma in Business.

Born and bred in Hawke’s Bay, Joe attended St Johns College and was a keen sportsman.  His passion for Cricket led to him spending some time in the United Kingdom as a professional cricketer following completing NCEA level 3 at school.

Following his time abroad, Joe realised that he needed to find a profession, and began his journey in the Trades sector as an apprentice Plumber/ Drainlayer. Financial uncertainty in early 2008 resulted in Joe needing to seek new employment opportunities elsewhere as hard times slowed the housing market, putting a strain on the local economy. Joe left to seek new opportunities which he found in Australia, working in various remote mining locations in the Civil Infrastructure space as a 3 Waters technician/ construction worker.  

“Initially, when I decided to come back to New Zealand after 5 years working abroad, I was looking to continue plumbing in New Zealand until an opportunity to work at Fulton Hogan as a Three Waters Site Manager arose. I must have shown potential as that then quickly developed into the vacant Department Manager role and from then on, I have never really looked back “

He says that during this time he received further training and industry qualifications, but nothing in the academic realm. My time at Fulton Hogan was amazing, they are great at identifying and developing emerging talent.

“It was towards the end of my time at Fulton Hogan, and further highlighted during my recent employment at Stantec as a Contracts Manager which exposed me to the value of higher education”.

Following these “key development years” in the workforce, Joe made the bold decision to pause, regroup, and embark on a journey of personal and professional improvement. “I had been relatively successful in what I was achieving but always felt I was missing some form of higher qualification, so I decided to pause and seek a higher education.”

“I wanted to progress and that’s basically where it was. I physically wanted to challenge myself academically, as well as a desire to come out with a piece of paper that formally recognized my experience and ability”.

This led him to EIT in 2023, where Russell Booth, Senior Lecturer and Programme Co-ordinator – Business, soon realised that with his work experience, Joe might qualify to do the Graduate Diploma. He is now set to finish his Graduate Diploma in Business next month.

It has not been an easy journey, juggling a busy family life, with part-time work opportunities when time allows, but the content within the School of Business programme, and the personal growth he has experienced throughout the process have been both rewarding and refreshing.

Joe says that following the completion of his recent studies he is keen to continue in the Civil industry.

“I look at things slightly differently these days, experience is a great teacher. Having the practical experience to draw on is great, but I feel more confident knowing I can also draw on the theory behind certain things, and have a positive influence”.

Russell Booth says: “Joe is an excellent student – and highly competent in the classroom environment.However, with Joe’s extensive industry experience we initially conducted a Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) exercise. This resulted in Joe gaining six courses through RPL, needing him to only complete two more courses to complete his Graduate Diploma.”

“This has not only significantly cut down the time and cost to complete the qualification but it is an excellent way of recognising the experience and knowledge someone like Joe has against a qualification framework.”

“It is a tried and tested process we think many people in Hawke’s Bay can also benefit from and we welcome applications from people who think they qualify!”