Court Registry Officer, Ministry of Justice, Christchurch
Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Criminology
She has always been fascinated by crime and justice, says Sarah Vercoe who completed a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Criminology.
“From a young age, I’ve had strong opinions about crime, punishment and rehabilitation and I wanted the opportunity to challenge, share and grow these beliefs, and ultimately, put my theories to the test.”
Now working as a court registry officer in Christchurch, she loves being able to interact with legal professionals and customers from a range of departments on a daily basis.
“I was especially blown away by my first interactions with our Family Court judges because they’re so down to earth and friendly. I’ve grown a lot on a personal level through developing relationships with them. I also enjoy building relationships with lawyers and police officers and just growing my knowledge of how all agencies attempt to work together for the common good of justice in our country.”
A smooth transition
Studying a degree directly related to her work made it much easier to transition to the workplace, Sarah says.
“Thanks to my degree I already knew about some laws I would be acting under, understood pre-court processes, and was somewhat familiar with my workplace responsibilities before I even started my job.
“The workplace experience in my final year at AUT was a highlight for me. I did my placement at Genesis Youth Trust, and got to visit youth offenders, attend court hearings, write reports and assist in projects with the Youth Aid section of the New Zealand Police. I graduated with a much stronger conviction of where I wanted to head in my career and entered the workforce with some experience.”
She appreciated the support she was offered throughout her studies, says Sarah who received an AUT Woolf Fisher First in Family Scholarship.
“The Trust paid for my course fees for three years, Kea supported me with a mentor from the New Zealand Police, and AUT put on many networking and team building events. I think winning this scholarship is one of the most significant things I’ve achieved. I was constantly reminded that I can achieve anything with the right attitude, heart and determination.”
Advice for other students
Make the most of your lecturers, Sarah advises other students.
“AUT staff genuinely care about you, your wellbeing and your success. Most of the staff will take the time out to help you, mentor you and support you through whatever situation is present in your life if you take up that opportunity with them.
“You’ll soon notice that each lecturer has their own style of marking and teaching. It will benefit you greatly if you build relationships with them and learn to understand their methods.”
It’s important to have a routine, she adds.
“I would recommend getting yourself into a consistent routine, both inside and outside of university – find a hobby, spend time on your spirit, exercise, eat well and definitely stay organised. You 100% need access to a dairy and unfortunately you need to accept that there will be some late nights.”