Sally: I finally returned to study and now I have the skills that are relevant to the retail industry.

What made you want to study Retail?

It’s not like I haven’t been to school, but I wanted to refresh my mind about what is going on now. At school we had no computers because when I left school we were using typewriters. I came to NZ in ‘87’ and that is when I learnt to do computers, I went to Manukau Institute

When I saw your ad, I was like “Oh they accept my age group”, because I am 50. I have been a stay at home mum for most of the time, just spending time with my children. My husband was the only one working and I was at home organising everything, sorting the bills, the mortgage – over 10 years I was doing that then I realised now that all the children have grown up and are moved out of the house. Now, it’s just me and my husband.

So, I said to my husband, I want to do something, so I can get back on track and be up with the real world. It’s sad for me because I give my all to my children and then they say goodbye. But it’s good because they are all working. We are so family orientated, when it comes to family, you put your family before you. My life was like that. I wanted my children to get an education, so they can be independent and do things on their own, they are fine now, they are doing their own thing. Now they’re looking at me and saying, “hey Mum, go back to school. You know I need to see how it is now, what has changed from when I was working before. I need to learn what’s happening, I can’t just walk into a job and they give it to me just like that. I will be a burden to employers if I keep asking, how do I do this, how do I do that?

I like interacting with people. That’s what brought me to Retail. I like to talk and help people. I can’t see myself in an office, I don’t want to be locked up. I can help, you know if you give me a job I am a fast learner.

Before I left Samoa, I was a tour guide. Being around people has always been something I’ve done so really customer service. It’s something that has been with me, but I just needed something to help refresh my skills.

What was your experience like at MSL Training?

First I would say I worked with Seu very well. She is an excellent tutor. She communicates with us, she makes us understand every little bit in the book. She gives her time. When I first started in the class, I did some observation, they were very shy and kept to themselves. When asked a  question, it would take a long time for them to answer. I am a very chatty person but being old in the classroom, I pulled back, I tried not to get them, even though I knew the answers, I didn’t want to be that know-it-all person. I’m just there to learn, I want to absorb all the information. She is a big help to me, I would go to her for help and she would guide me. I noticed everyone around me all the young ones they got so confident because she knows how to work with each person and make them feel good and help them to understand.

You know I said to myself, “I picked the right course”, this tutor here she gives her time, even though there is a big class she still has time for us.

Would you recommend MSL and what would you say?

I find the place is really like, I would recommend, it is a learning centre for anybody that is needing help. . I think this is a great place, especially for my age, its not easy to study at my age, my brain doesn’t function like the young ones. You know when I learn I like to get the book and sit down and read through properly before I do the work. I tried to do it quickly but then when I get the marks she (Seu) would put the comments “Please read carefully, or something like that” that’s when I know I am different, and I have to learn the way that I am comfortable with. You know I make sure I read it first before I do the work.

What does your family think about you studying and graduating?

My family are proud, especially my big (eldest) daughter. My big girl is 26, they got the same thing as me, she is store manager too – so she is glad I got this course and I got tips from them like what to do and what not to do.

Before I work at Goldmark, my daughter warned me, she said “Mum, you going to be on your feet for a long time, you don’t make money just sitting around” So on my first week at Goldmark I got sore feet, legs and my back. She asked me what I did, and I told her I asked my boss if they could give me a chair and she laughed and said “Mum, I’m the boss at my work and if my people asked me for a chair I would’ve give it because that is part of the job. She reminded me you can’t make money sitting down you have to be on your feet in that job. She kind of helps me out because she knows what it’s like and gives me advice. Goldmark was good experience for me because I know I probably need to work in a bigger store – that way instead of standing in one spot I can be walking around. I never got to sit down at home I was always moving so this is probably what I need in a job too, not a little store like Goldmark where I stand for hours in the one spot.

You know my husband was very proud of me too, he said, “So when does the course finish” and I said, it has already finished. He was like “Oh, I’m going to miss seeing you getting up in the morning to get ready. He likes to say to me, “have you got school today?” We always laugh. My husband is a hard-working man and he likes to see me getting up too, he is very happy for me. Its just me and my husband now so he wants me to go back to work and so do I because all our kids have gone. I sacrificed 10, actually 12 years to make sure my children are cared for and now they have moved on and doing their own thing. Now I am focusing on myself.

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