Finding the balance

Finding the balance
Fitting higher education in later in life can be tricky, which is why Toi Ohomai’s online courses provide flexible options and opportunities for people to further their learning without having to sacrifice family or jobs. Two such people to benefit are Shem Otieno and Silvia Parker.

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Any of us struggle just to 
keep work and life in balance. Over the past two years, 
Shem Otieno – and many others like him – has learned to juggle work, family life and study, thanks to online learning courses offered by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. Well known around the Bay of Plenty for his junior soccer coaching, Otieno was working in customer care in the retail sector when he decided 
on a career change.

As well as studying law at the University of Waikato, Otieno is completing his Diploma in Conveyancing through Toi Ohomai. Conveyancing is a relatively new profession covering property law.

Silvia Parker is also studying conveyancing part-time online and believes it’s a way for people to further their education, no matter their geographic location. For herself, Parker says, “ I love the course and its contents are well-presented and organised. You can organise your study around your lifestyle or employment.”

Conveyancing is one of several courses 
in law-related professions offered by the institute, which is jointly based in Tauranga and Rotorua. Others include the NZ Law Society Legal Executive Diploma, which allows graduates to assist in land transfers, administering estates, preparing and filing court documents; and the Graduate Diploma in NZ Immigration Advice, for those seeking to advise would-be immigrants.

For Otieno, online learning with Toi Ohomai meant he could continue to work while he studied. “It also meant I didn’t need to take out such a big loan from StudyLink,” he says. That’s a bonus when you’ve got a young family. Otieno can work during the day, come home for dinner and see the children settled before his study.

“You need a lot of self-discipline, because you get the material for the week ahead and you have to complete the assignments in your own time rather than sitting in front 
of a lecturer,” Otieno says. His secret has been to wait until the children are asleep, then hit the books.

It must work – the former professional footballer has only one paper to complete for his diploma. As Otieno’s experience shows, online learning is far removed from old images of sitting alone with looming deadlines and no help at hand.

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