Otago Polytechnic
ABE profile ZarrinRobertson 008
We get to work on all the Otago Polytechnic cars, and staff cars. You can even bring your own car in if it’s related to what you’re learning

Zarrin Robertson
Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level 3)

Zarrin (Zed) Robertson wasn’t really sure what he wanted to study when he came to Dunedin’s Tertiary Open Day from Gore High School.

“I came up for a look around Otago Uni but the Polytechnic seemed more practical … more me”.

He’s always been interested in engines, so he started off with a Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level 3), then completed a National Certificate in Business Administration (Level 4)*.

“Studying at Otago Polytechnic was different from school. They taught us all the academic subjects, but they also gave us life skills – like basic presentation, and how to deal with customers.”

Zed says Otago Polytechnic’s automotive workshop is one of the best in New Zealand.

“They have all the new technology that you don’t get in a small workshop – like a huge selection of scan tools.”

There’s also a steady stream of cars that need work.

“We get to work on all the Otago Polytechnic cars and staff cars. You can even bring your own car in if it’s related to what you’re learning.”

Zed’s lecturer recommended him to Forbury Service Centre and now he’s completing a managed apprenticeship. That means he’s working full-time and studying part-time for a National Certificate in Motor Industry (Level 3).

“Everything I’ve learnt at the Polytechnic absolutely applies to my job. What I’m studying is what I’m doing!”

Zed plans to finish his apprenticeship and eventually save enough money to go travelling.

“If I have a qualified trade, it’ll be so much easier to get work wherever I go”.

*Now replaced with the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Administration and Technology) (Level 4)

Read more about Certificate in Automotive Engineering (Level 3).

More about Automotive Apprenticeships.

 

ABE profile CharlotteFlaherty 003
Polytechnic is so forward thinking, so strategically minded and so connected with the workforce. The teaching’s also of a very, very high standard.

Charlotte Flaherty
Bachelor of Engineering Technology

Charlotte Flaherty’s decision to leave full time work, and sign up for a Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Mechanical) took a lot of soul searching, and a long time to resolve.  So she was delighted with the news that she is Otago Polytechnic’s inaugural winner of the Women in Engineering Scholarship.

“I gave up full time work to do this.  My self-image and status was tied up with my job, and obviously, I’ve taken a drop in income, so winning this scholarship validates my choice.”

The 54 year-old has been a journalist at the Daily Telegraph in the UK, a Safer Journey Coordinator at the Dunedin City Council, and (is still) a mother of two.  But after studying a couple of civil engineering papers five years ago, she got a taste for engineering. 

 “I’m moderately geekish.  I really want to speak fluent maths, and I have a real desire to understand how structures and systems work and react.”

Charlotte’s no stranger to study.  She has a CapableNZ degree in Business Transformation and Project Management.  This was gained by studying part time while working full time.  But she’s decided it’s time to focus solely on her education.

“I am so happy - I’m absolutely loving the study.  I really believe it’s the right choice and career move for me.”

Charlotte says Otago Polytechnic was an obvious place for her to study.

“Polytechnic is so forward thinking, so strategically minded and so connected with the workforce.  The teaching’s also of a very, very high standard.  I’m a huge fan of Otago Polytechnic!”

Read about the Bachelor of Applied Management through Capable NZ.

Read about the Bachelor of Engineering Technology.

More Engineering programmes.

Ewan Baker
It’s been an amazing year, with a lot happening. I think I’ll just keep my head down and move forward – that’s worked for me so far.

Ewan Baker
Certificate in Engineering (Level 3)

Otago Polytechnic engineering student, Ewan Baker, has had a whirlwind of an introduction to his chosen career.  In November, he won the prestigious ‘2016 Bill Buckley Scholarship Award’, and landed a coveted three-year apprenticeship at Scott Technology in Dunedin.

Ewan didn’t expect to win the award at all.  “I only found out I could apply two days before the closing date, but I thought I may as well.  I was surprised that even though I had to rush to put together the application, my results and achievements were enough to carry me through” he says.

Lecturer, Stuart Hewson is impressed with Ewan’s accolade.  “He beat 30 other applicants to win.  I’m not surprised though, he takes every opportunity to learn new things and gain knowledge” he says.

Ewan initially thought he’d study engineering at university, and signed up in Australia.  But after one year, he realised Otago Polytechnic had everything he wanted to do. 

“I love the hands on work at Otago Polytechnic, and also really enjoy the theory and design.  Now that I’m working full time at Scott Technology, they also really encourage those aspects”.

Ewan has completed his Certificate in Engineering (Level 3), and still has three papers left in his New Zealand Diploma in Engineering – Mechanical Engineering.

As for the future, Ewan’s taking it all in his stride.  “It’s been an amazing year, with a lot happening.  I think I’ll just keep my head down and move forward – that’s worked for me so far”.

Read more about Certificate in Engineering (Level 3).

Read more about New Zealand Diploma in Engineering – Mechanical Engineering.

More Engineering programmes >

ABE profile CaitlinDonovan 002
Otago Polytechnic wasn’t a huge change from school. We weren’t sitting in big, intimidating lecture halls, we were in a classroom, interacting with the lecturer.

Caitlin Donovan
New Zealand Diploma in Engineering - Civil Engineering

Cailtin Donovan says the best thing about studying engineering at Otago Polytechnic was being able to apply it directly to her job.

The 27-year-old gained a cadetship with the Waitaki District Council straight out of school.  She came to Dunedin one day a week to study, and the rest of the time she worked at the Council’s water unit in Oamaru.  “The lecturers were really understanding about those of us doing part time distance learning.  You could approach them easily, and they were always keen to help out”.

Caitlin isn’t worried that the diploma took twice as long to complete, “It was really good, you don’t come out with a student loan!”

“I like problem solving, maths and science, and the Polytechnic wasn’t a huge change from school.  We weren’t sitting in big, intimidating lecture halls, we were in a classroom, interacting with the lecturer”.

Caitlin’s keen to follow a career path through the Waitaki District Council.  She says there’s lots of professional development opportunities, and she has already enjoyed three different roles since completing her cadetship.

“There are so many engineering jobs available, and my study really did help with what I was learning at work”.

Read more about the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Civil Engineering).

More about Engineering programmes.

ABE profile MajidDousti 009
Here you don’t need to rote learn formulas. Here, you can use your mind for solving problems, you can be more creative.

Majid Dousti
Bachelor of Engineering Technology

Majid Dousti thought 30 years of civil engineering in Iran would place him well for employment in New Zealand.  But he soon found that most employers here didn’t recognise his qualifications or experience.

So, with a family to support, Majid Dousti decided to retrain at Otago Polytechnic.  He now has a Certificate in Electrical Technology, a NZ Diploma in Engineering (Electrical) and he’s just finished his Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Electrical).

Majid’s attitude and commitment to study helped him find work with Delta – he’s one of their distribution designers for Dunedin’s electricity network.

Majid says Dunedin’s the perfect place for him, “The people are friendly, and they make time for you” he says.

He found Otago Polytechnic a great place for mature students, “There’s a big variety of ages.  I am the oldest in the class, but I fit in all right.  My classmates are all very friendly”.

Majid says his studies here were very different than in Iran.  “Here you don’t need to rote learn formulas.  Here, you can use your mind for solving problems, you can be more creative.”

Read more about the Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Electrical)

More about Engineering programmes >

ABE profile AlexSutherland 003
I was stoked with what I got. It offered a good balance between theory and practical elements.

Alex Sutherland
Bachelor of Engineering Technology

When Alex Sutherland was five years old, he learnt about his grandfather’s time with the Royal Engineers in WWII … he was immediately hooked!

Alex was determined to become an engineer, and came to Otago Polytechnic straight from high school.  “I didn’t even realise a bachelor degree existed there.  I was stoked with what I got.  It offered a good balance between theory and practical elements” he says.

Fulton Hogan employed Alex midway through his degree.  He worked full time during his holidays and started working as a contract engineer with them one week after finishing his degree.  “I would’ve have started earlier, but I had to do jury duty” he jokes.

Alex is now doing a lot of project management with Fulton Hogan and plans to follow the company’s very clear career pathways.

Alex says he thoroughly enjoyed his time at Otago Polytechnic and is enthusiastic when talking to others determined on a future in engineering.  “Just get into it and really pay attention.  You might not think it applies, but it all does”.  

Read more about Bachelor of Engineering Technology (Civil Engineering).

More about Engineering programmes.

ABE profile TristanSansiquet 009
There is more structure in studies here, and I felt that if I needed support, the teachers were always there.

Tristan Sansiquet
New Zealand Diploma in Engineering - Electrical Engineering

Tristan Sansiquet visited New Zealand ten years ago and fell in love with the place.  He returned to France, and started his own IT business in networking and security.  But his passion for Aotearoa never left him, so he returned in 2014 to study at Otago Polytechnic.

Tristan now has a Certificate in Electrical Technology, and a NZ Diploma in Engineering (Electrical).

After graduating in 2015, he was selected for the post graduate programme as a control engineer at Scott Technology in Dunedin.  “I do a lot of drafting, kinetics, design and, of course, control systems, it’s very diverse” he says.

Tristan found Otago Polytechnic was an excellent place to study.  “The best part is, I was able to be practical, not only theoretical”.

He says studying here is very different from France. “There is more structure in studies here, and I felt that if I needed support, the teachers were always there”.

Tristan’s now applying for residency, and is looking forward to an electrical engineering career in his adopted home.

Read more about New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Electrical Engineering).

More about Engineering programmes >

ABE profile AdamRyland 005
I get worldwide recognition with this diploma, that really helped with my decision to come here.

Adam Ryland
New Zealand Diploma in Engineering - Mechanical Engineering

Adam Ryland is a practical man.  He’s always liked finding out how things work, so when it came to choosing his career– engineering was an obvious choice. 

Adam started with a pre-trade course (his Certificate in Basic Mechanical Engineering) before moving on to complete his NZ Diploma in Engineering (Mechanical).  He says Otago Polytechnic was an obvious choice.  “I get worldwide recognition with this diploma, that really helped with my decision to come here”.

Adam says he searched around to find what careers were available before he chose to come to Polytechnic.  That decision has certainly paid off, he’s now a services engineer at Milmeq (they design, engineer and manufacture equipment for primary food processing).

Adam started a cadetship with Milmeq while he was still studying.  His boss liked the style of education he was getting from Otago Polytechnic “I had an understanding of how the industry actually works, versus just the theory behind it”.

He says the study was a big step up from school, but there was excellent one-on-one tuition and plenty of support, so he soon got into the swing of life here.

Read more about the New Zealand Diploma in Engineering (Mechanical).

More about Engineering programmes.

CORP staff TylerBenington 003
Passing on my skills is really satisfying – it’s great to be able to give students strategies and techniques and see them improve.

Tyler Benington
National Certificate in Engineering - Fabrication (Light Fabrication) (Level 4)

Tyler Benington is an example of where hard-work and determination can get you. In 2008, with no background in engineering at all, he embarked on a Basic Mechanical Engineering Trade (BMETS) qualification. He then gained a National Certificate in Engineering, specialising in Light Fabrication. Years later, he now works as an Engineering tutor at Otago Polytechnic – a career he loves. 

During the BMETS programme, Tyler’s dedication won him Top Student and Top Machinist of The Year. After that, he completed his apprenticeship at Farra Stainless in two, rather than the usual four, years. “I was keen to get qualified and move on to work,” he says. Alongside his apprenticeship, Tyler completed night classes and block courses to complete his Engineering Fabrication qualification. 

The highlights of Tyler’s time at OP included the block courses and the hands-on work in the field – including a stint working at the Speights Brewery redevelopment. He also speaks highly about the quality of teaching he received, especially from John Stocks, who has guided and mentored him ever since he began at Otago Polytechnic. 

His decision to apply for a tutoring position in the School of Architecture, Building and Engineering came arose from Tyler’s own enjoyment of his time at the Polytechnic. “When I was doing the course, I thought it would be cool to do what John (Stocks) does,” he says. 

Tyler’s advice for those interested in a career in Engineering is straightforward. “Punctuality and respect go a long way with regards to senior tradesmen and tutors,” he says. “They’ll take you far in this industry.”

The National Certificate in Engineering (Level 4) has been replaced by the Certificate in Engineering (Level 3).

ABE profile DanCox 003
I now have a feeling of confidence and security that I haven’t had in a long time.

Dan Cox
New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory (Level 3)

Dan Cox had been working for over 10 years in sound engineering and security work on and off. Having always been interested in electrical stuff, he chose to study the Certificate in Electrical Technology (Level 4) as he already had a bit of experience having worked in sound engineering and wanted something stable with more job security.

“I wanted to do it quickly and get a really good head start. I’m turning 30 this year so I didn’t want to muck around.

“The programme gave me a really good theoretical background to draw upon for the everyday things I see at work now. I got to work with people and could collaborate, share ideas and discuss things. Plus the tutors were excellent and showed you how to do things properly.”

Dan is now working for Sonntag Fox Electric. He has been there for eight months and really enjoys the work.  “I started part-time for three months or so and now work full-time. I’m continuing to learn so much. Every day is different. It’s great to work in an industry where there is demand for my skills. The best part of the job is it combines a variety of things that I am interested in (physics, maths and chemistry) so it’s really interesting.”

The Certificate in Electrical Technology (Level 4) as a pathway to employment in the electrical industry has been replaced by the New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory (Level 3).

ABE profile JohnMarshall 001
I pretty much came back to Dunedin for the course and the lifestyle and the opportunities.

John Marshall
New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory (Level 3)

31 year-old John Marshall is married with three kids. From the age of 16 he had always wanted to be an electrician, but he didn’t decide to pursue electrical engineering study until he was working as a self-employed Sky contractor in New Plymouth and clients started asking him if he could fix their electrical problems while he was there.

He studied the Certificate in Electrical Technology (Level 4) and then gained employment working for a local electrician. This position enabled John to begin his electrical apprenticeship.

“I’m now a Level 4 electrical apprentice and that leaves me with about six to 12 months to go doing my regulations exam and theory exam.”

John has recently changed jobs and now works at Aotea Electric as a telecommunications technical assistant. Although this is a different branch of electrical work, Aotea Electric is keen to support John to complete his apprenticeship.

John describes the Otago Polytechnic course as being good but a bit of an eye-opener. “I’m glad I got into this field through Otago Polytechnic. By far it is best way to do it. The practical learning skills were the best. I wouldn’t have become an electrician if it wasn’t for the course as it would have taken too long.”

The Certificate in Electrical Technology (Level 4) as a pathway to employment in the electrical industry has been replaced by the New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory (Level 3).