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MIT students lay down career foundations

Monday, 05 November 2007

MIT students lay down career foundations for successful future

Students at Manukau Institute of Technology’s School of Foundation Studies got all fired up about a range of issues from anti-smacking legislation through to rising housing costs and the harmful effects of smoking and fast food – all as part of their research projects. But though the subject matter varies widely, the projects were governed by the same attitude – education is the way to get ahead.

“Group research projects give students who haven’t studied at tertiary level before some idea of the standard expected of them when they’re going for a qualification,” says research lecturer Anne Sinclair. “They learn vital skills such as team work, goal setting, time management, reading and note taking, analysis of data, and writing and presentation.”

Natalie Salle is a pre-nursing student who appreciates the way her group’s project on rising housing costs taught her “to stand up and look at things from other people’s point of view”.

“Many believe the Kiwi dream is just gone,” says the Papatoetoe resident. “People are working but where is the goal? When we handed out a questionnaire to students in Foundation Studies, though, we found that a lot of them are studying with that home ownership goal in mind. About 47% of them expect their income to go up because their studies will give them a qualification and a good job. They expect to be able to buy their own home because of their studies – they have high hopes.”

The group researching the barriers adults face when returning to tertiary study also found that many students were single-minded about studying. Regardless of their age, educational or economic background, students were determined to increase their earning potential and change their lives for the better.

Sarah Boagey, Hola Samani, Destiny Wilson and Tehere Tyack also surveyed Foundation School students and determined that the major stresses were family and finances followed by work. “But while children put limitations on students who are parents, they are also a very big motivation,” explains Sarah. “Students want to improve their kids’ lives and break out of the stereotypical norm.”

“Family support was a really important factor in adults keeping up with their studies,” adds Tehere.

The group also investigated the large number of support services available at MIT from the Learning Centre and counselling services through to a chaplain on campus and daycare for babies and young children.

The Foundation School prepares students for employment or further study in areas ranging from nursing, computing, early childhood education and social work through to policing, engineering, and travel and tourism.

Approximately two thirds of Foundation Education students are female while 38% of the total are aged 15-19 years. The students represent a broad cultural cross-section, made up of 40% Pacific Island students, 19% New Zealand European, 12% Maori students, 10% Asian and 10% Indian students.


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