Thirty-year career provides St John’s compliance manager with experience for Applied Management degree

Learner Stories
9 July 2020
shirley kerr
Shirley Kerr
Bachelor of Applied Management

When Shirley Kerr first walked through the doors of St John as a volunteer paramedic, she would not have believed that thirty years later she would not only still be there but also have a degree under her belt.

“I always froze in exams at school and thought I didn’t have the skills and the knowledge to study for a degree, but a work colleague and my children encouraged me to look at Capable NZ,” said Shirley.

Despite the fact that she had worked her way up to a national position in charge of compliance and quality in first aid training, she felt inferior and in awe of anyone who had a higher education.

Shirley is the National Private Training Establishment and NZQA Manager at St John.

“I’m dealing with people who have degrees and qualifications all the time. Before going to Otago Polytechnic, I’d sit around the table and everybody would introduce themselves and they’d have a string of letters after their name and I’d be just Shirley Kerr, paramedic, with a family.”

“It took a lot of convincing. It was only that they pointed out that I’d written the quality manual for St John and I was doing a lot of things in my role that graduates do.”

Shirley doubted her abilities right to the very end.

“I truly didn’t believe it until they said I’d finished and would graduate with a Bachelor of Applied Management.”

"Studying for the degree was challenging, scary, fantastic and so self-fulfilling. This recognition of prior learning is just phenomenal and it’s so relevant and so valid. I’d recommend Capable NZ to anyone.”

- Shirley is the National Private Training Establishment and NZQA Manager at St John.