For Ruth Barnes, working in education is about making a difference in people’s lives.
As UCOL Wairarapa’s Deputy Director Academic, Ruth oversees the delivery of all qualifications on the campus.
Ruth joined UCOL in early 2020 after working as Director Quality and Academic Integrity Initiative at Melbourne Polytechnic. She brings over 15 years of experience in the institute of technology/polytechnic (ITP) sector.
“I’ve always been attracted to campuses that have a lot of second chance learners - communities that support educational opportunities to make a difference in their and their families’ lives,” says Ruth.
Ruth has worked in a range of ITPs, from teaching Early Childhood Education at Manukau Institute of Technology to heading Waiariki Institute of Technology’s Education Department and Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Faculty of Health Education and Humanities. She’s excited to now be working and living in Masterton for the first time.
“UCOL Wairarapa is a very friendly place with a beautiful environment. It’s lovely to be in regional New Zealand, where it’s two or three minutes’ drive to your place of work. Waiarapa has a diverse community, with people who have lived in the region for a lot of their lives alongside people who have moved from Auckland or Wellington for more affordable housing and lifestyles.”
Ruth is focused on building relationships within the Wairarapa community and delivering programmes that support graduates to find employment in the region.
“Part of the focus is growing business and primary industries in the region. That’s something I’m really interested in doing.”
With education transforming her own life, Ruth encourages anyone considering studying at UCOL to go for it.
“Education can bring about a change in you that you never thought would happen. When I went back to study after having children, I expected to work in a kindergarten but I ended up making a career in tertiary education. You never know where that first step is going to take you for the rest of your life.”