Len Wawatai feels good when he helps people – now he gets paid to feel good.
Len is hooked on helping people, and with his EIT Certificate in Health Disability and Aged Support he brings his skills and life experience together to assist others.
With its emphasis on helping support workers to be safe, competent and accountable, the programme prepared Len for work in different settings with people of different ages.
He had placements at Dunblane, where he worked with elderly people, and at the Stewart Centre – where he now works –assisting people who have suffered a brain injury.
“My mum was a real community person and I saw how much she enjoyed helping people. This qualification allows me to put those things all together – it allows me to bring my life experiences together with my experience as a personal trainer and my knowledge of nutrition. Even if your intentions are all good, you still need a qualification to help people.”
Support from his EIT tutor Hazel Tidman was really helpful, he says, and they have remained in touch. “We discuss any issues and it gives me clarity. My
boss at the Stewart Centre, Karin Johanson also gives me a lot of support.”
As part of his new job, Len takes clients to the gym three times each week to help with their therapy and recovery. Anyone can be in a situation where
they have a head injury and need care, and Len, originally from Tikitiki, sees the need for effective social work when he goes back up the coast.
His qualification has been important in helping him take his career in the direction he wants it to go. “With this course under my belt, I can slowly start
heading up the East Coast. I have to find an area where I can help parents with kids because our kids are our future.”