At just 19, Nika Harley is already enjoying her dream job, while completing qualifications that will enable her to advance a career in the health and wellbeing sector.
“I absolutely love this job, it allows me to do everything I enjoy, every day,” says Nika who is training on-the-job as a Diversional Therapist at Woburn Rest Home in Waipukurau.
“I used to view rest homes as a bit miserable, sort of lifestyle hospitals, but that was out of complete ignorance. I was so wrong. I certainly had no idea about diversional therapists and that they were even needed in rest homes.”
This motivated and competent young woman left school aged 14 and spent several years pursuing different career paths, ranging from hospitality, hairdressing, storytelling and building to being a mechanic.
“I was always doing at least one course of study, if not more. I have lots of different interests; way too many interests to be stuck in one job!
“But as a diversional therapist I’m never stuck in one role. There’s so much variety and fun and in any one day I’m being anything from exercise instructor, or an art teacher to a cook and much more.”
Working with elderly people in rest homes to create enjoyment is also not only rewarding and fulfilling but fun, says Nika.
“I have always wanted a career where I’m working with people, helping make people’s lives better, but I didn’t have the stomach for something like nursing. With this work, I am giving people a boost and having fun as well.”
Nika landed the role in October 2020, just after lockdown during which time she’d been recovering from an injury while working on a building site.
Her life coach suggested she look at diversional therapy in a rest home and despite Nika’s initial doubts, she went to three job interviews – and was offered all three positions before selecting Woburn Rest Home.
“This is a really good industry to get into. It’s not only incredibly fulfilling and fun, but you get a lot of on-the-job training with fantastic life skills around medicines, first aid and CPR – and it’s paid for by my employer.”
Nika is in the final throes of completing her Level 4 Certificate in Health and Wellbeing – Diversional Therapy, with support from Industry Training Organisation, Careerforce, and is signing up as a member of the New Zealand Society of Diversional Therapists.
Many employers will support on-the-job training where you’ll have the opportunity to earn as you learn, get practical skills and work towards achieving a nationally recognised qualification without taking on a student loan.
Check out these sites to find the right job for you!