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Ms Kees, who already holds a certificate in tourism and a bachelor of applied management, said she was part of one of the target markets for the polytechnic and "almost a product of her own learning".
She has this year started a graduate diploma in sustainable practice at the Central Campus, and said she wanted to provide an example of someone who continued their learning and upskilled to gain new qualifications.
This could be done at any age, and she encouraged both school-leavers and mature students to consider the opportunities polytechnics could provide.
In particular, she praised recognition of prior learning (RPL) schemes.
RPL allows those who have extensive experience in their industry, but no qualifications, to measure their knowledge and skills against formal qualifications, including certificates, diplomas and degrees. Nationally recognised qualifications can then be awarded, sometimes after a period of additional study that would be far less than doing the full qualification.
Ms Kees, who previously worked in marketing at Highlands Motorsport Park and overseas, completed her bachelor of applied management through the Capable NZ RPL scheme operated by Otago Polytechnic.
She said RPL worked for many sectors, and said her own RPL qualification was "the best thing I’ve ever done".