Lily Talamaivao - Crisis Support Worker, Wellington HELP
Why did you decide to study?
Before I enrolled at Whitireia I was mostly a stay-at-home mum, and I hadn’t studied in eight years. I kept thinking, “I have to do more.” When my youngest was five I decided to get back into work, but I still had study in the back of my mind.
I’ve always enjoyed connecting with people. As someone that hasn’t come from a perfect background, I felt I would be able to relate to and help others in similar positions. I was interested in the Bachelor of Social Work, but decided to do the Level 4 Health and Wellbeing programme first.
What made you choose Whitireia?
My aunty was the one that really sold it to me. She’d studied there and mentioned how good the support for students was. She said that there was a team in the library who could answer your questions and help you with assignments.
She was right, there was heaps of support and it really helped me through. Sometimes I can experience a bit of self-doubt, but my tutors really helped me overcome that.
How did you fit study into your life?
I live and work in Porirua, so being able to study there too was great. I could drop the girls off at school, go into campus on the one or two days a week I had class, and then do a couple of hours of study after they’d gone to bed.
What did you learn at Whitireia that has helped you in your role today?
One of the most helpful things we learnt about was setting professional boundaries. I’m such an open person, I find it easy to go above and beyond what’s needed. When we spoke about it in class, almost everyone felt the same. Another subject I found really interesting was cultural responsiveness. We learnt about different customs and how that affects the way you approach different situations.
What do you like about working in this industry?
It allows me to fulfil my goal - to be out in the community helping people.
What would you say to someone thinking about studying Health and Wellbeing?
I tell all my friends and family that if they need a place to start, health and wellbeing is it. You can fit it into your life, and there’s tonnes of support.
Study Health and Wellbeing at Whitireia
Make a difference in your community by studying health and wellbeing. Choose from a range of programmes and gain the skills you need to work in a range of community and healthcare settings.