Enhancing lives. It’s what we do.

At Ara, our goal is to advantage you. With courses that matter, taught by inspirational mentors, in real-life learning environments. The result? An enhanced you; confident, work-ready and equipped to succeed - wherever life may take you. If you want to know what that feels like, talk to an Ara graduate. Or better still, become one.

Joshua

Joshua, architectural studies student

"You get the guidance you need, but you're always encouraged to think outside the box."

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Ge Ren

Ge, fashion design student

"It's never too late to be what you want to be."

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Juliette

Juliette, performing arts student

"I come out of classes inspired and excited to learn more."

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Nathanael

Nathanael, cookery student

"I enjoyed every day at Ara."

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Olivia

Olivia, supported learning student

"I'm treated like an adult."

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Jamie

Jamie, social work student

"There's a lot of leeway for people to be different."

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Joshua

Joshua, architectural studies student

"You get the guidance you need, but you're always encouraged to think outside the box."

Joshua is one of those lucky people who know exactly the career they want, even before they finish school. He left high school in Year 12 in order to start a Diploma in Architectural Design at Ara. "Ara offered me the opportunity to study what I wanted, at the age I was, when other universities didn’t," he says. Discovering that he thrives in Ara’s real-world, hands-on learning environment, Joshua has progressed to a degree in architectural studies. He says one of the things he likes most about Ara is the freedom students are given. "You get the guidance you need, but you’re always encouraged to think outside the box and take your projects that much further."

Ge Ren

Ge, fashion design student

"It's never too late to be what you want to be."

Ever wondered if you made the right career choice? Ge did, and then she did something about it. After graduating from university in landscape architecture, she decided that fashion was her true calling. Leaving plants and plans behind, she worked in fashion retail for five years to understand the industry before embarking on a fashion design degree at Ara. "My passion is to create - I want to make something of my own," she says. And that’s precisely what she's doing. "I'm getting a solid foundation of skills that allow me to turn complex designs into real garments and turn my thoughts into reality. It was so worth it coming here. It's never too late to be what you want to be."

Juliette

Juliette, performing arts student

"I come out of classes inspired and excited to learn more."

Juliette loves making people happy and she's well on her way to a career that lets her do exactly that. She's doing a degree at Ara's National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA), which she reckons is the best place to learn how to make it in this competitive field. "It’s not an easy career path but we’re taught how to survive in the real world; like how to audition, how to apply for grants to produce our own work and how to set up a professional profile." Juliette says the tutors are great and she's getting all the tools she needs to grow as a performer. "I come out of classes inspired and excited to learn more."

Nathanael

Nathanael, cookery student

"I enjoyed every day at Ara."

Nathanael has discovered that passion and profession can go hand in hand. After finishing high school in Malaysia, he worked as a fitness instructor, bartender and paramedic before realising his true calling was cookery. “I’ve always loved the flavours and ideas involved in cooking so I decided to take my creativity and skills to another level.” He studied a diploma in cookery at Ara, where he thrived under the guidance of highly experienced tutors. “I enjoyed every day at Ara. It has an amazing atmosphere.” Nathanael is now pursuing his dream of becoming a great chef, with an apprenticeship at Pescatore, one of Christchurch’s top fine dining restaurants.

Olivia

Olivia, supported learning student

"I'm treated like an adult."

Olivia’s confidence has grown and her world has expanded since coming to Ara. After completing high school at Middleton Grange, she decided to study towards a certificate in Skills for Living for Supported Learners at Ara. “I thought it would help me be more independent, and prepare me for work and adult life,” she says. It has: not only has Olivia gained new skills and experiences on the course, her confidence has grown. “I love doing all the work, meeting new people and trying new things. I’m treated like an adult so I’ve learned to manage myself like an adult. Ara is an awesome place.” Olivia’s goal now is to work in a pre-school.

Jamie

Jamie, social work student

"There's a lot of leeway for people to be different."

University isn’t for everyone. For Jamie, Ara offered a welcome alternative. When he decided to study social work, he was relieved that Ara offered a degree in his chosen subject. “I have a tendency to be overwhelmed in large environments like lecture theatres,” he says. “Ara’s a lot more cosy than university, if that makes sense. The tutors are very approachable, the support you get can’t be faulted and there’s a lot of leeway for people to be different.” Jamie is thriving at Ara and especially enjoys the many opportunities to get hands-on in the field with community organisations and government agencies. “It’s immensely helpful.”

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Whatever stage of your career or studies you’re at – from total newbie to seasoned professional – we have courses and qualifications that can really take you places, whether that’s into your very first job or onto the highest steps of the career ladder. Explore all the options below; you might find exactly what you’re looking for, or discover something completely unexpected.

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