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Finding the right balance

WORKING with people is a passion for EIT Tairawhiti social work student Dylan Williams.

He says he is lucky — he is already partly living his dream, working with teenage rangatahi as a part-time youth transition worker.

He is this year's recipient of the Tangi Hepi Memorial Scholarship of $500, administered by Tauawhi Mens Centre to support male Maori studying social work.

The second year Bachelor of Social Work student loves his course and working within the social work sector.

He noticed he enjoyed interacting with people in all aspects of his life including sport.

So, in 2015, Dylan decided to get a social work certificate (through EIT Tairawhiti) to gain an understanding of the work.

At that time, rugby was his main motivation and he moved to Waikato where he studied a variety of subjects.

“But I couldn't find the balance. I loved rugby so I took two years off to pursue the sport.”

This year, he has his qualifications and a job in social work as his main focus.

He moved home and is back studying at EIT Tairawhiti while working as a youth transition worker.

Dylan supports kids in Oranga Tamariki care.

He said working and studying is an exercise in finding balance.

After helping get his family ready for the day, Dylan is off to work to catch up.

“Then I go and have face-to-face contact with my boys, looking at how to negotiate any barriers or obstacles they are facing.

“We have a talk about the tools and skills they could use, set goals and monitor the progress of those goals.

“Then it is straight back to work for the paper trail.”

From lunchtime, he is into study and touches base with work and his “boys” at the end of the day.

He says the social work course is great.

“The quality is in the ability to have one-on-one time with lecturers and other peers,” says Dylan.

“It is inquiry-based learning with the emphasis on the student going out to learn.”

He is grateful for the wrap-around support of EIT Tairawhiti.

“It is comforting to know what is in place to support students and that EIT is prepared to put that support into you.”

Rugby is still a big part of his life — at least it was before Covid-19 arrived and put a stop to all sport.

Dylan plays club rugby for YMP and was a Poverty Bay rep player in 2014.

He played for the Hamilton Marist premier team, Waikato club rugby, the Waikato Maori team and New Zealand Marist Colts.

living the dream: Dylan Williams is this year's recipient of the Tangi Hepi Memorial Scholarship. Picture supplied