• Home
  • News
  • Career change sees EIT student follow sports passion

Career change sees EIT student follow sports passion

June 9, 2022

EIT student Michael Bush (left) has been working with para va’a (outrigger canoeing) athlete Peter Cowan (in canoe). With them is EIT School of Health and Sport Science lecturer Patrick Lander (middle) and Peter’s coach Myka Nuku (in red).

After years of working as a retail salesman, EIT Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science student Michael Bush decided to make a mid-life change to follow his passion of sport science.

Michael is now finishing up his degree through EIT’s School of Health and Sport Science but is not ruling out going on to get a postgraduate degree. He admits that when he left school, he never thought he would ever study further to this degree.

Born in Hawke’s Bay, Michael, 43, grew up in Hastings and went to Karamu High School, where he developed an appreciation of the outdoors and sport.

“I think Karamu High School was instrumental in steering me on this path. It had a really cool outdoor education programme and some really inspiring teachers.”

As for his favourite sports, Michael enjoys ultra-marathon running, which he describes as his main passion. He was also one of the founding members of Karamu High’s canoe polo programme which is now in good health.

With a family to support, Michael got a job in the retail and sales background, which saw him travel the country for many years.

“At the end of the day, I suppose I always wanted to do something a little bit more fulfilling with my life. I always had that passion for outdoor education and for exercise and the many hours I spent as a salesman in the car with my thoughts, I came to the realisation: ‘Man, it’s time for a change.’”

Michael says the opportunity to change direction came when his wife, Sarah, who had stayed at home to raise their children, finished her Bachelor of Nursing degree at EIT and went out to work.

“We’d always said that once she was trained and working full time, that it would give me the option to go off and do what I really wanted to do. And you do get comfortable with two incomes, and I procrastinated for a few years and then thought: ‘No, it’s either now or never.’ I didn’t really want to wait another five years or 10 years and then find that no it was too late.”

Michael says that although COVID-19 threw a spanner in the works, the only way to handle his re-entry into academia was to treat it as a full-time job. He was expecting to be the oldest in his class but found there were a number of forty-something year olds along with some younger students.

One of the most rewarding experiences of his degree is his work with para va’a athlete Peter Cowan, who has also studied in the EIT Sport programme. Peter is a New Zealand elite representative in the sport of Waka Ama, and due to its similarity to the sport of para va’a (outrigger canoeing), Pete is aiming for the Paralympics in 2024.

“Pete and I were in the same class last year and I was looking for a project and he needed help in analysing his training.”

“My project for my degree is looking at ways Pete can improve his training with the aim of improving performance.”

Michael’s second project, is what is known as an Industry Co-op, has been with EIT.

He has been working in EIT’s two sports labs – one at the EIT Institute of Sport and Health (EIT ISH) at Hastings Sports Park and the other the Pettigrew Green Arena.

“I’ve been doing some testing of squash players, netball players, and canoe polo players.”

Michael is set to finish his degree in June next year and he has no hesitation in recommending EIT as the place to further one’s education.

“I appreciated the supportiveness of the tutors and the fact that everything’s very accessible. In Level 5 and 6 I took advantage of the learning advisors for every assessment that I needed, and I learned a huge amount off them.”

EIT School of Health and Sport Science lecturer Patrick Lander says: “Through the final year Sport and Exercise Science courses, it’s been great to see Michael applying his life experience and Sport Science knowledge to create solutions for community sport athletes in Hawke’s Bay.”

“One of the degree’s aims is to create graduates who can effectively and creatively address challenges in sport and exercise science; through Michael’s projects we can certainly see those skills in action”.