Fri 1 Dec 2017

Rhonda banks on a new therapy

When she was asked to share the story of her journey Rhonda Morshead was somewhat embarrassed to find herself welling up.

The sudden focus on the realisation that, from a twin leap of faith she and husband Neil had taken at the start of 2017, she had successfully negotiated study to become a qualified beautician. This was enough to fill her eyes with tears.

It was all a bit puzzling and the tears returned the next day as she talked about that leap.

“I’m just amazed I’ve done it,” she beams.

She had spent the best part of 30 years working for TSB Bank; Neil had chalked up a similar stretch at Fonterra. Their time with two fine employers had been rewarding, and they had both reached a stage where they felt the stress of work was intruding too heavily on their lives – it was time for a change.

Neil left Fonterra and went to Australia for a holiday where he visited his brother, then came home and switched from dairy to campervans, joining the team at Merit RV on the corner of Devon and Morley Streets in central New Plymouth.

Rhonda wound the clock back to 1985 and enrolled at WITT.

Back then it was to do a secretarial course (“that’s not PC now”) which lasted three months before the TSB came calling with a job offer.

In 2017 it was to follow something closer to her first love, beauty therapy.

“My childhood dream was to be a hairdresser, but I thought beauty therapy was more suited when I enrolled.”

Rhonda joked at the WITT early Christmas service that she was the only student in her class with a full licence.

She is proud to see herself presented as an example of someone who can make a change no matter what age they are.

“People need to know they are never too old to learn and never be afraid to come back.”

Her next birthday will be a memorable one – number 50 – and it arrives with a fresh outlook on life and work secured at Royale Beauty Therapy on Devon Street.

Rhonda will also be coming back to WITT in 2018 studying for a Diploma in Beauty Therapy with an internationally recognised CIDESCO diploma.

“I only have good things to say about WITT,” she says. “I come here on my day off to study at the Learning Centre and the tutors like Lisa Carruthers and Shelley Kelsen-Macdonald are so supportive.’’

Rhonda is looking forward to starting her new career and seeing where it takes her – while youngest son Jordan now has WITT on his horizon.

“He knows what he wants to do – enrol in an automotive course at WITT in 2019.’’