Before joining Awanui as a Pre-analytical Technician, Irene Peirce had owned an orchard and market garden in Central Otago for more than 20 years, which grew a range of produce including apples, cherries, tomatoes, and pumpkins.
“Moving from being self-employed to working in a large company in the health sector was a challenge,” says Irene who began working at the laboratory 13 years after moving to Dunedin. “Working at Awanui was a big learning curve and is very interesting work.”
Irene took part in the QSST (Qualified Specimen Services Technician) course not long after she joined Awanui, which was voluntary. Irene was offered the chance to enrol in the diploma course in April 2020, finishing in September last year, which was her first academic qualification since leaving school.
“The course topics were all very interesting and doing the course was a good challenge both professionally and personally, in juggling full time work, study and family life.”
“For me it was great personal development, I improved my computer skills, l learned more in-depth knowledge of science in all aspects of my department and the rest of the laboratory. In completing this diploma, I showed myself I could do it” says Irene who was a top achiever in her cohort.
Irene and her colleagues who were part of her cohort did the course together, supporting each other along the way.
“I met and connected with some awesome people. There ARA tutors were great, and our Learning & Capability manager Heather Compton was supportive and encouraging right the way along.”
Irene says the diploma is great for developing professionalism and integrity of health sector employees.
“The course is the opportunity to help people move upwards through our labs and organisation. By encouraging and supporting people to do the diploma, we can keep them onboard here at our organisation. I was proud to have completed the qualification and I have gained extra knowledge and skills to offer more at my work and whatever roles may come along in the future.”