Ronan McConney lives with cerebral palsy, but this has not stopped him from achieving his dream to become a paramedic. With NZMA, Ronan has recently gained his Level 4 Health Studies qualification and is now enrolled at AUT – studying towards a Bachelor of Health Science, majoring in Paramedicine.
Ronan believes disabled learners can do anything they put their minds to, but this must be supported by tertiary institutions that understand what disabled learners need to succeed.
“Studying through COVID-19 was difficult. Like many people with disabilities, I prefer face-to-face learning. This suits my needs and my learning style, but the pandemic has prevented me being in class for long periods.”
“Disabled student needs are not always met through distance learning. It’s harder for our voices to be heard, and for our tutors to identify when we are struggling. We can’t always work at the same speed as students who don’t have a disability.”
“Thankfully, during my time at NZMA, most of my tutors were very accommodating to my slower than normal work pace. This individualised attention combined with my own drive was what helped me become a tertiary success story.”
“I can’t wait to work in the health sector, not only because that’s my dream career, but also to challenge some of the stereotypes that exist for people with disabilities. We can bring many strengths to a job – such as empathy, patience and first-hand experience in overcoming obstacles every day.”
“But what people with disabilities need most is an education system that prepares us for the workforce and helps us to achieve our dreams and goals – and to do that we need adequate and individualised support.”