After decades of working as a chef and travelling the world, Annie Ellis has made the bold move to return to education.
After she had qualified as a chef, Annie moved to Australia where she worked in kitchens, completed a natural medicine course, and started to study Social Sciences. When a family member fell ill, she had to cut her time in Australia short and move back to New Zealand, and yet, the world kept calling. London was the next place she ticked of her bucket list, followed by Spain and Germany, where she built up a flourishing catering business. But working 80 hours a week while caring for her daughter (now 13) took its toll and Annie felt like she hit a dead end.
So she moved back to Hawke’s Bay to put down roots and focus on new opportunities. “A career adviser fortunately pushed me in the right direction. While living overseas, I had often stopped my life to care for other people, it’s like a natural part of me.” Annie felt that she would love being a nurse and, once she knew that was her future, nothing could hold her back. “But I hadn’t studied for 20 years, my study skills were rusty and didn’t feel confident enough to jump straight into the degree. I had to learn how to learn again.”
EIT offers level 3 and level 4 Certificates in Study and Career Preparation with different strands depending on the field the student wants to enter next. Annie chose the Hauora / Health pathway and completed level 4. “The programme was absolutely amazing, and I would highly recommend it. We learned how to write essays, how to research and reference. We also looked into communications skills, public speaking, time and study management, all whilst getting a solid science foundation. I’m so happy I did it, I think I would have been lost in my first year otherwise.”
Mature students have typically many different hats to wear, but Annie says that she 100 percent made the right decision. Her age was never an issue, she says. “We all worked and learned together, and it was actually a really enjoyable experience to bounce ideas off each other.
In 2021, Annie will finish her Bachelor in Nursing. Three years into the degree, Annie still has this positive attitude and willingness to make a difference. “It’s never too late to start and I’m excited that I will spend the rest of my life doing a job that I love.”