Making the Most of Every Opportunity - Joshua Coleman

Date: 14 May 2024

Joshua Coleman - “Always thank those who have helped you along the way”

BSc Computer Science, Auckland University.
Dilworth Class of 2020, Staples Education Class of 2021

It’s graduation day and Joshua Coleman has returned to Dilworth for morning tea to celebrate his graduation with fellow Staples Education Foundation Scholar, Kellen Dudley-Rode. Joshua is fizzing as he talks about the monumental day ahead for him.

“ I have no words to describe it, this is the culmination for me, the closing of a chapter, I’m no longer an academic, I’m employable!”.

And employable this young man has certainly proved to be. From a series of part-time jobs that developed into more, Joshua has already landed himself a job - in fact, he only had one week off between finishing university and starting his new role working in Esports, 'Let’s Play Live’.

A self-proclaimed tech geek, Joshua said he has always been into computers. But after spending the morning with Joshua, it becomes clear very quickly that he is also a ‘people person’ - the impact of others and his acknowledgement of their role in his journey coming through every aspect of his interview.

Through his years at Dilworth, he talks about the instrumental role that teachers such as Amanda Kench, Ben Carey and Kris Simak played in shaping his career. He became leader of the Dilworth Tech Team and as he reflects he says  “Kris Simak was awesome, he helped and encouraged me to continue. He was a great mentor and developed my learning. I owe a lot of what I do now to him”.

Joshua relished every aspect of his Dilworth journey.

“ Everything about Dilworth was special, the learning, the groups you get to join, the access to amazing staff if you get stuck – the Dilworth teaching staff are the best, they make time for you and then there’s the tech team!”.

At the end of his Dilworth years, in 2020, Joshua received a Staples Education Foundation (SEF) scholarship for High achievement. 

The SEF scholarship comprises several key components. Recipients, like Joshua, are provided with work experience opportunities, a mentor in their field of choice, financial assistance, and a buddy to help them through their first year of university.

Essentially, it is a critical support framework that provides everything from networking, and mentorship, to ongoing training through the Support and Development Programme.

Joshua recalls: “I still remember when I found out that my application for the Staples Education Foundation Scholarship for High Achievement had been accepted. When we were given the good news, I remember the overwhelming pride I felt- that my years of hard work had paid off,  and that my journey through the Green Gates and onto University would be supported by an amazing Foundation-  with my best intentions in mind”.

He says this scholarship has meant a world of difference because “ it meant I wasn’t journeying (through university) alone, I was looked after”. He thinks the mentor and buddy scheme are some of the biggest benefits of the SEF scholarship but that the financial aspect of the scholarship should not be understated.

“The generosity of the board towards me meant that I have now graduated with a Bachelor of Science Major in Computer Science without any debt, which has helped me get a head start on my savings towards the future”.

Joshua believes his mentor Patrick Middleton, CEO of Conrad Funds Management Limited, has had the most profound impact on his future career constantly providing him with valuable lessons and being a total support throughout his time at the University. He also found the buddy system that SEF puts in place for students, invaluable. “It helped save me from careless mistakes before I even got to University. I'd like to thank Joji Joseph, my buddy,  for all the help and guidance he provided me in the first year of my studies”.

Work experience gained through the SEF scholarship has inspired Joshua to dream about a future career in cybersecurity, perhaps in the defence force as a cyber analyst.  He said he was lucky enough to get a 3-week work placement there which gave him great insight into what’s involved, he commented

 ‘I love the game of cat and mouse, always learning, always trying to stay one step ahead of the mouse”. 

At the end of the interview, Joshua thanked  Haydn Staples, the Staples Education Foundation Board, his mentors and teachers.

“From the bottom of my heart, thank you. To Haydn, you inspire me to continue to give back to my community. Volunteering has been a big part of my life for the last 7 years, and since meeting you, I have no plans on stopping anytime soon. I hope to one day be able to pay forward the kindness you have shown me to other Dilworth Students”.

 And his advice to other Dilworth students receiving the SEF scholarship “The resources you have access to through Staples are amazing, and I strongly suggest that you take every opportunity Staples presents to you, including networking events and internships, as they will set you up for success”.

Joshua’s final word is always to thank those who have helped you on your way

“I wouldn’t be this person without Dilworth, Staples Education Foundation or my Mum”.