Libby Mattison has always wanted to work in the health sector, but struggled at high school due to a learning disability. After enrolling in the Youth Guarantee Health and Support programme at Ara Institute of Canterbury, she’s now on her way to becoming a nurse.
“Making the switch to Youth Guarantee is the best decision I’ve ever made. High school just wasn’t the right place for me, but I knew what I wanted to do and needed another way to get into studying health,” Libby says.
The six-month Youth Guarantee programme gave Libby an introduction to health subjects and helped her get a feel for what tertiary study was like. She says that it gave her a big confidence boost.
“I got to learn some of the things that would be covered in nursing, but the biggest thing I got out of it was believing in myself.”
The small class size, practical-style of learning and supportive tutors helped her to excel in her studies.
“I was treated like an adult and I felt like I was in control of what I was doing. The tutors really cared and took the time to explain things in different ways so that everyone could understand.”
At the end of the programme, Libby did some pre-health papers and was then accepted into the New Zealand Diploma in Enrolled Nursing. A highlight of the course so far has been her placement in a rest home.
“I’ve always wanted to help people and it was great to finally do it for real. I felt really connected to the patients I was caring for.”
She is looking forward to graduating in 2017 and then working in either the mental health sector, or possibly studying further to become a midwife.
Her advice to other people who are struggling at high school is to stick to what they’re passionate about and find a way to make it happen.
“It’s a wide world out there. Don’t pass up the opportunity to study what you’re interested in. I wouldn’t be where I am without Youth Guarantee.”