Busy doesn’t come close to describing the life of JG Nel from IT finance company Credit Capable.
Not only is he working full-time, but he is also finishing a degree in econometrics (financial economics combined with calculus) and on top of that trains six hours a day.
That’s because Nel is a professional pole vaulter with Olympic aspirations. “I’ve been ranked number one in New Zealand for the past six years, and I hold the Oceania Games record for pole vaulting that has stood since 2002. My goal this season is to hopefully go to the 2008 Beijing Olympics.”
Nel finds out if he has qualified for the Olympics at the end of the month, but he is also thinking ahead to the 2010 Commonwealth Games and Olympics in 2012.
His work at Credit Capable involves processing finance applications and providing support to resellers. “If any of the computer dealers have problems, I help them out and take them through finance processes. I’m in the office quite a lot as I’m more behind the scenes on the phone.”
Every IT relationship is different for Nel. “On the phone you’re dealing with people every day and it’s a different situation. When IT companies need advice on a finance deal or they’re putting through a lot of business, I have to adapt to them and understand where they are coming from.”
The 23-year-old is in his fourth year of study at Massey University in Auckland and plans to further his finance studies with a postgraduate degree. “What you learn at university level is helpful and opens your mind up to opportunities in the finance industry, but no one can teach you about working hands-on with business people day to day.”
He adds that his work at Credit Capable has made it easier undertaking what he is studying. “[I] learn about what the markets are doing and how this affects the IT industry.”
With only six months in the industry under his belt, Nel says he enjoys learning more about IT. “Because I’ve been involved in sport since I was a boy, I never had time for IT, but since I’ve been working here Leon [Credit Capable director, Leon Van Kan] has shown me what computers can do. I like PC games now and I’m starting to become a bit of a geek.”
Nel has won many pole vaulting medals. His career in the sport started 10 years ago at Westlake Boys High in Auckland and he began earning money from pole vaulting when he first represented New Zealand in 2002 at the Oceania Games. “I never realised I would get this far in the sport and I still enjoy it to this day.”
He is also a keen snowboarder and motorcyclist, but athletics is his first love. “I spend about three months of the year in Sweden training for pole vaulting. It involves a lot of time management because I work full-time and I train six hours a day, six days a week.”
Nel grew up in South Africa and came to Auckland with his family in 1996. He became a citizen in 1999 and calls New Zealand home. “I enjoy competing for New Zealand and I love wearing the silver fern.”
He is diplomatic when it comes to rugby. “I’ll support New Zealand playing any other team expect South Africa. You have to be proud of where you come from, but I believe that when you enter another person’s country you’re not there to leach off them. That’s why I work and study here because I want to give a little bit back.”
One of his proudest sporting moments was attending the 2005 University World Championships in Turkey and getting placed 17th in the world. “It was the most amazing feeling to walk out into the opening ceremony with all my Kiwi friends and do the haka in front of 80,000 people.”