Supporting any EIT students who need help with obstacles to learning is the mission of newly-appointed EIT student support advisor Kiri Dickinson.
Kiri has joined a team of five whose role is to be there for students, and provide support and advice to help them overcome anything that might stand in the way of their learning success.
This can range from budgeting, keeping up with classes, reading, writing, maths, computer technology involved in studies, to transport, accommodation or a variety of other problems.
Their job is to listen, identify the problems and put students in touch with resources available to help them.
Sometimes what seems like a big problem is easily resolved – other issues may take a team effort working with other agencies who are able to help.
Kiri has a big background in working with students and young people. She has been working in education for 33 years, mainly at a secondary school level but most recently at the Te Karaka Area School which covers all ages from year 1 to year 13.
She is enjoying the friendly environment at EIT where everyone has the common goal of helping the students achieve success in their chosen path.
It has always been her passion to support those who want to learn.
Kiri is no stranger to the EIT environment, having filled a one year maternity vacancy in a sports leadership programme.
She is happy to be back , especially in a support role. She will be working with students in the trades division and those who have Te Toka Scholarships. Those scholarships, provide fees-free study and extra assistance such as acquiring driver licencing to Maori and Pacifica students. But they come with attendance obligations which Kiri can help students meet.
The student support advisors work closely with library staff, who are able to provide many extra resources to help with all fields of study.
Sometimes tutors let support advisors know if a student is having problems, but students can also come to them directly. For that reason Kiri likes spending time in the classroom getting to know the students.
“I want students to know who we are and what we do,” she said.
Later on, the advisors are also able to help newly qualified students with finding jobs, confidence and interview skills.