Otago Polytechnic

Two apprentices enrolled in Otago Polytechnic building programmes are finalists for a national women’s construction award.

Anna Winskill-Moore and Kirsty Currie both plan to attend National Association of Women in Construction Excellence Awards event in Auckland on Friday 27 September.

Anna, who recently completed the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills at Otago Polytechnic, is employed as a building apprentice with Osborn Brothers Building and Construction Ltd.

“I started with them as soon as I finished my course this year,” says Anna.

“I’ll get to talk to and learn from others in the industry.”

Anna says her inclusion as a finalist in the Student or Apprentice Excellence section has given her boost of encouragement.

“Being a mature female student/apprentice in construction is not common.

“I am proud of the life change I have made, as the desire to be a carpenter/builder has always sat in the background. I think I’m most proud that I haven’t let societal attitudes and expectations hold me back from pursuing a career in construction.

“The prospect of turning 40 while being in a job I didn’t love helped fuel the drive to make the change to construction. I felt if I didn’t do it now, I probably never would, so I bit the bullet and jumped.

“As part of the year-long programme at Otago Polytechnic, we had to find ourselves work experience placements, so I made a point of asking companies if there was potential for them to take on an apprentice. This was in an effort to increase my chances of having an apprenticeship to go to at the end of the course, and that worked out for me.”

As part of her ITAB apprenticeship, Anna is now enrolled in the New Zealand Certificate in Carpentry at Otago Polytechnic.

“I am currently attending a series of theory night classes for this, and in the third year of my apprenticeship I will have some block courses to attend.”

Anna has some words of advice for other women contemplating getting into the construction industry:

“Be prepared for the mental and physical challenges it brings; have a goal or purpose to work towards; be persistent and courageous but also patient; and – possibly the most important thing – keep a sense of humour.”

Meanwhile, Kirsty Currie is about to complete her second year as an apprentice for Dunedin firm Beelee Homes Ltd.

Kirsty, who completed the New Zealand Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4) at Otago Polytechnic, admits she was a bit “shocked” when told she’d reached the finals of the NAWIC Awards.

“I feel very privileged and honoured to be selected as I finalist,” says Kirsty, who also plans to attend the awards ceremony.

“The opportunities that I have been given to date have been great and I’m so thankful for that. I am constantly learning on a daily basis.

“My apprenticeship involves completing modules, but I have also been fortunate enough to become a peer tutor for other apprentices in the programme and am helping them with literacy.”

And Kirsty has some words of advice to other women contemplating getting into construction industry:

“Just do it! It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, or what gender you are. I am living my dream and others can, too!”

Kirsty’s boss, Grant Beel, says she has been an “amazing” find.

“I haven’t had an apprentice like her. Kirsty has this real thirst to learn. From her first day on the job, she was hungry for knowledge.

“No one walks on site without Kirsty asking them something.”

Read more about our Construction programmes

Published on 11 Sep 2019

Orderdate: 11 Sep 2019
Expiry: 31 Dec 2020