Jimi Hunt graduated with a bachelor of management studies earlier this month - and it only took him 20 years to get there.
Hunt used to travel the world as an ambassador and public speaker for mental health and wellbeing but border closures put a stop to that.
He has lived most of his life in Mexico and before the lockdown he used to split his time between there and Tauranga for work and study.
"Unfortunately, Covid has put a stop to my job everywhere else, so I'm back in New Zealand full time until the end of the year.
When Hunt won a Kevin Roberts Entrepreneurship and Innovation Scholarship to attend the University of Waikato's Hamilton campus he decided to finally finish his degree.
"It was something that was always hanging over my head."
Hunt said it was a relief to finally graduate.
"It's an achievement that I'm proud of."
Hunt's path to study is not unique.
Covid-19, and subsequent travel restrictions, has sparked an upsurge of people retraining and upskilling.
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology chief executive Dr Leon Fourie said Toi Ohomai's Tauranga and Rotorua campuses had seen an increase in enrolments post-lockdown.
Fourie said it was unclear how many were choosing to retrain but people were taking advantage of courses under the Government's Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF).
The fund is open to anyone intending to study a targeted course or apprenticeship between July 1, 2020, and December 31, 2022.
"It's designed to increase the number of skilled workers in sectors that are expected to grow in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic."
TTAF courses are available across the primary sector and in conservation, construction, health and community support, education, manufacturing, electrical engineering, information technology, and road transport.
Fourie said Toi Ohomai had also worked with organisations affected by Covid-19 in a bid to retrain staff to enable them to gain management and leadership jobs.
"At least 50 Rotorua employees were able to upskill thanks to the ReTrain programme."
ReTrain is an initiative between the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA), Te Arawa Group Holdings and Toi Ohomai, supported by the Ministry of Social Development.
Toi Ohomai also partnered with Tauhara North No. 2 Trust to provide 110 Tamaki Māori Village staff impacted by Covid-19 with access to re-employment and retraining opportunities.
"It is great to see people taking advantage of funding schemes which will see people trained for areas of growth and in high need of skilled staff."
A University of Waikato spokesperson said there were 375 "non-school leavers" enrolled at the Tauranga campus in 2021.
That included 105 students completely new to tertiary and the university and 270 students who studied elsewhere but enrolled at the university for the first time this year. An extra 77 students enrolled between mid-March and the end of 2020.
"We can assume this growth is largely due to students choosing to upskill or retrain as a result of Covid-19."
The spokesperson said some of the growth could also be attributed to the Tauranga campus gaining a greater profile since opening two years ago.
"School-leaver numbers have also grown at the Tauranga campus this year by 35 students which is likely due to the ongoing border restrictions, and students choosing to study as they are unable to travel overseas."
Job advertisements on the up
Jobs advertisements across the country have climbed the highest they've ever been, new data shows.
The latest Seek NZ Employment Report showed the highest number of jobs ever advertised on seek.co.nz a year since lockdown.
Nationwide job ads climbed 55 per cent in the year to March 2021, while the Bay recorded an 81 per cent increase in job ad listings since March 2020.
The industry sectors with the most job ads for the Bay include trades and services, manufacturing, transport and logistics, healthcare and medical and then retail and consumer products.
Seek general manager Janet Faulding said March 2021 painted a "very different picture" to March 2020.
"The massive growth in job ads shows how far we've come as a nation."