Jonny Leppard has undergone an amazing career transformation in the space of just a few years. Not so long ago he was a storeman for a building company. Today, he's a cardiac physiology technician for the Canterbury District Health Board.
Jonny's journey started with an exercise science evening class. With a growing desire to help people improve their health, he swapped full time employment for full time study, taking the six-month Certificate in Fitness at CPIT (now Ara Institute of Canterbury). "I really enjoyed the environment, and the support from lecturers," he says.
His next step was an even bigger one; the Bachelor of Applied Science (Physical Activity, Health & Wellness) also at CPIT. Again, Jonny cites the support of his lecturers as a real strength of the programme. "I couldn't fault them," he says. He also enjoyed meeting people while learning, and particularly valued his work placement, which is a key part of CPIT's applied science degree programmes.
"The work placement was invaluable. It was hands-on and real-world. Gaining that practical experience was key for me, I found it a real confidence booster."
Looking back after graduating and re-entering the workforce, Jonny is grateful for the knowledge he gained at CPIT and the support he was given. "It was a well-structured programme and I felt like there were a lot of career opportunities available."
At the CDHB, Jonny's varied work tasks include conducting in-patient and out-patient ECG tests, exercise tolerance tests, and using a range of hi-tech monitoring equipment.
Jonny's enthusiasm for learning hasn't waned. He's currently doing a post graduate certificate and intends to follow it up with a post graduate diploma, both funded by his employer. "My plan is to carry on with my current employment and continue my education," he says. "From there who knows where I'll end up!"