I talked to a few people in the industry and decided a more practical-based qualification would be better
New Zealand Diploma in Construction (Level 6) (Construction Management) or (Quantity Surveying)
Ben Sadowitz has always been interested in how buildings go together. His father’s a civil engineer, and Ben wanted to stay in the same industry. After deciding on quantity surveying, he took the big step of leaving Auckland for Dunedin. “I applied to two universities as well, but I chose Otago Polytechnic. I talked to a few people in the industry and decided a more practical-based qualification would be better.”
Ben loves living in Dunedin. “I started off at a home-stay, then moved into a hall of residence. I went flatting in my second year. It was so much fun.”
Ben completed a National Diploma in Construction Management (Level 6) and a National Diploma in Quantity Surveying (Level 6). He finished at the top of his class, and gained a scholarship for further education. He now works full time as a quantity surveyor at Rawlinsons, and studies part time for his Bachelor of Construction through Massey University.
“Otago Polytechnic set me up really well for work. I knew very little about construction beforehand, but the diploma sorted that. I’m now building on a really solid foundation at work and with further study.”
So Ben’s decision to move to Dunedin and study quantity surveying was definitely the right choice. “I’m really interested in construction and numbers, and quantity surveying involves the economics and pricing of construction, so it ticks all the right boxes! I’ll definitely stay in this career.”
You get to meet real good guys keen on the same things and get valuable work experience
Marcus Devereux, grew up in Tapanui, and decided to study the Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4) because of the vast career opportunities it offered. He chose Otago Polytechnic after being inspired by the charity house Otago Polytechnic students build every year. It’s a choice he’s never regretted:
“There are a lot of apprentice employment options in Otago, and during the programme you get lots of industry placements. If you prove yourself as eager and willing to learn there’s a good chance the employer will give you a job,” says Marcus.
And that’s precisely what happened to Marcus. After doing a placement for a builder in Dunedin he was offered a job. The highlight of his apprenticeship so far was helping build a high-end 400m2 new home.
Currently, Marcus works for Mike Creedy Building working on new houses and renovations. He also won Otago Southland Apprentice of the Year for Industry Training Association Building (ITABS) in 2015, and placed third at the nationals. Marcus is humble about his achievements, but credits Otago Polytechnic with providing him with the foundation he needed to achieve his success.
“The great thing about Otago Polytechnic is its 50/50 theory and practical. You learn about it in the classroom and then you go about doing it in the Polytech carpentry area, then out there doing it in the real world. I didn’t know anything four years ago, but now I get to play a leading role on building projects. That’s pretty cool.
“In the future I’d like to be a foreman, and eventually I’d like to run my own business.''
Construction appealed to me as a rewarding career – you see good results for the work you put in.
Ryan Keogh is firmly focused on his career goals. At the age of twenty-six, he has already attained the role of Project Manager with Naylor Love Construction. Ryan has gained experience on a number of large projects, including work for the University of Otago, overseeing renovations at Speights Brewery, and the redevelopment at Invercargill prison.
Ryan completed his Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4) at Otago Polytechnic some years ago, before going on to receive the title of National Carters and Registered Master Builders Apprentice of the Year.
Keen to further his career, he has since completed two level 6 diplomas at Otago Polytechnic. “The National Diploma in Construction Management (Level 6) complemented my planning skills, while the National Diploma in Quantity Surveying (Level 6) provided the financial skills needed,” he says. “Together, these Diplomas along with on-site experience gave me the background I required to move into project management.”
Ryan is now planning to complete an Engineering degree at university. He was thrilled to discover he can cross credit his qualifications from Otago Polytechnic towards over half his degree. “Your studies at Otago Polytechnic can also reduce the time needed to complete further qualifications – helping you advance faster in your career.”
The diploma is internationally recognised – which is great, as I can take my skills overseas!
Rebecca Williams started work with Naylor Love as an Accounts Administrator, but then realised she was more interested in the work going on around her.
She approached the company about taking her on as a Quantity Surveyor cadet, and is now two years into her four year part-time cadetship.
Rebecca loves the flexibility and variety that quantity surveying provides. “You spend a lot of time out of the office dealing with other construction professionals, and each job is so different – it’s certainly not monotonous,” she says. The job involves a range of tasks, including cost estimates, preparing budgets, payment claims, variation claims, managing cash flow, bidding for contracts and negotiating final accounts. “It’s basically cost management for a construction project,” Rebecca explains.
The cadetship provides Rebecca with many opportunities to practise the knowledge and skills learnt in the class room, and her workplace is very supportive. “The guys here are great,” she says. “I’ve had great mentors, who have helped me a lot.”
Rebecca definitely recommends quantity surveying as a career to other women, but suggests it is important that they learn a bit about what it involves first. “There’s a big demand for the role, but you do need to be resilient and confident.”
I’ve always loved architecture – and this diploma teaches you how to virtually build a house from the ground up.
Diploma in Architectural Draughting (Level 6)
Alice Broomfield starts her first position at Athfield Architects next month. “I’m really looking forward to moving out into the industry,” she says. “I will be putting all my theory into practice.” She is currently in her final year of the Diploma in Architectural Drafting (Level 6) at Otago Polytechnic.
Alice has really enjoyed her time studying at Otago Polytechnic, and finds her chosen field fascinating. “It’s great working on the architectural programmes – learning to3D model and then watching my design come to life,” she says.
The small class size has really enhanced her student learning experience, and made for a tight-knit group. She felt connected with her lecturers and got to use a range of programmes and BIM modellers – from Photoshop to Revit.
Students also learn manual drafting during the first two years of the programme, an important skill. “I noticed when it came to interviews that employers really love Otago Polytechnic graduates because our knowledge base is well-rounded,” Alice explains.
Alice was fortunate to complete a four week exchange to Shanghai this year. To demonstrate her suitability for the programme she had to achieve good marks, and show good time management skills. “It was a once in a lifetime experience,” she says. “I saw some amazing architecture – so futuristic and awe inspiring.”