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EIT programme helps set solo mum on path to dream

June 17, 2022

Shandell Rennel is weeks away from completing the NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation [Level 3] at EIT.

A study and career preparation programme at EIT has set a solo mum of four on the path she never thought possible.

Shandell Rennel is just weeks away from completing EIT’s NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation [Level 3] and is enrolled in the Level 4 programme at EIT next semester.

Next year, she will embark on the three year Bachelor of Nursing at EIT.

It is a big turnaround for Shandell, who at 16-years-old dropped out of high school in Auckland.

“I just didn’t like school – I wasn’t interested in all the subjects, and as a result I was not motivated.

“Now I’m 28, so I have a more mature mind and I am doing something I love which I find more interesting and easier to do well in.”

Shandell’s father is originally from Rotuma, a little island north of Fiji. While she was born in Hawke’s Bay, she only returned to the region with her family six years ago after living in Auckland since the age of one.

Her four children aged 11, eight, four and one-years-old, are her biggest motivations, but a job as an apple grader for an orchardist made her realise she wanted to do something she loved.

“Instead of looking at the clock all the time wondering when break was, I wanted to really enjoy my life.”

Looking at the different programmes on offer at EIT sparked her interest in nursing as she loves to care for people.

“I think I’ve got a lot of compassion and my heart goes out to people that are suffering so I would like to make a difference and put a smile on someone’s face.”

Having not “exercised her brain” in more than ten years, she says EIT’s NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation [Level 3] seemed like the perfect starting point.

“I have had a number of jobs in the past, but you don’t need to think much so I am pleased that I did Level 3 first just to get my bearings and to learn how to study.

“I’ve learnt heaps already, so I found that really good as a starting point to get to where I want to go.”

While studying has been a “challenge,” Shandell says the support from her family, EIT and that of other mums has been a huge help.

“EIT has been very supportive and understanding of my situation which is probably the main thing. I have always felt that they want the best for me and that’s been really helpful.”

Shandell is excited about what the future holds.

“I do have to remind myself of the outcome of all of this because it does get hard. But the outcome of where I’m wanting to be pushes me to carry on with my studies.”

Her advice for people in similar situations is simple: “If you have a dream, go for it”. 

“You only get to live life once, so it may as well be a happy one.”