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DJ Forbes among range of sports stars set to graduate from Otago Polytechnic

1 May, 2019
News and events

DJ Forbes is no stranger to either challenges or success. Yet the New Zealand Rugby Sevens star rates graduating with a Masters from Otago Polytechnic this week as one of his greatest accomplishments – and one of his toughest assignments.

Forbes will receive a Master of Professional Practice at Otago Polytechnic’s Auckland International Campus graduation ceremony on Wednesday, 1 May.

He will be among a host of New Zealand sporting talent to graduate this week.

Others include former All Black Jerome Kaino, who will graduate (in absentia) with a Bachelor of Applied Management through Capable New Zealand. Several players from the Blues Super Rugby franchise will also graduate with the same degree.

A school within Otago Polytechnic, Capable NZ has empowered no shortage of sports stars in recent years.

These include Olympic athletics coach Raylene Bates, Black Caps cricketer Grant Elliott, Tongan rugby international Hale T-Pole, Samoan rugby international Seilala Mapusua, Silver Ferns netballers Jodi Brown and Katrina Grant, windsurfing legend Barbara Kendall, New Zealand cricketers Katie Glynn, Luke Ronchi and Hamish Rutherford, and All White Andrew Durante. 

Forbes says his Masters project was one of his toughest tests.

“But it is probably one of my most fulfilling achievements.

“The urge to continue with study after completing a Bachelor of Applied Management through Capable New Zealand was an easy decision, but I quickly found out how hard it was going to be. My lead facilitator, Glenys Ker, was instrumental in keeping me on track and giving me the push I needed to finish it off.

“There were many sleepless nights,” Forbes reflects.

The former national men’s Sevens captain, who led New Zealand to World Cup and Commonwealth Games gold medals, has joined the New Zealand Olympic Committee in a newly created role dedicated to athlete engagement and well-being.

Forbes will sit on the Tokyo 2020 Leadership Team (planning) led by Chef de Mission Rob Waddell and will also support the development of team culture and athlete engagement for the 2019 Samoa Pacific Games, San Diego Beach Games and the 2020 Lausanne Olympic Winter Youth Games. Forbes’ new role also sees him support the New Zealand Olympic Committee’s Athlete and Olympians Commission.

“Ultimately, having this Masters qualification not only credits my new learnings but it also acknowledges what I had already brought to my field of enquiry.

“I believe this gives me more credibility but, more importantly, adds a theoretical and research-based framework to what people might assume has been a life of practical learning for me.

“I’m truly thankful to Otago Polytechnic for the opportunity and grateful that the Capable NZ programme supports and acknowledges prior learning from extensive experiences. It is also flexible in regards time management, which has enabled me to complete what would’ve been almost impossible in any other situation.”

Glenys Ker, Programme Leader of Capable NZ’s undergraduate programmes, says Forbes’ experience of progressing beyond undergraduate level has become a lot more common over the last few years.

“It is inspiring to observe – we witness our learners transform in terms of their personal and professional selves.

“The Master of Professional Practice programme encourages the learner to identify a significant project in their workplace – one which will be challenging and stimulate new learning for them.

“Learners are guided through a review of their learning to date. They then write up a ‘learning agreement’ about what they are going to do, and why; then they set about undertaking the project of enquiry.”

Glenys has also been working closely with the Blues group, who began their studies in June 2018 and utilised Otago Polytechnic’s Queen St campus on occasion to complete their degrees.

“Other players have now signed up and are working towards gaining a qualification, which is exciting for all sporting codes.”

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