Heidi Qu made the decision to study at Southern Institute of Technology because she wanted to start something new. “I wanted to learn a skill that would lead to a career lasting a lifetime,” she said, and it looks as though she has found her niche.
When Heidi came to New Zealand in 2015 to study, she completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Business Enterprise (Level 8) at SIT. She did several jobs before choosing to go back and study Quantity Surveying. “About two years ago, I decided to study the Diploma of Construction (Quantity Surveyor) at SIT. Quantity Surveying was the most suitable choice for me because I’ve always been intrigued by construction and am good at playing with numbers.”
Heidi chose SIT for number of reasons. Firstly, the Zero Fees Scheme was very attractive to her, which made studying with less debt “very low pressure”. Secondly, quality teaching makes a difference said Heidi, and she knew that SIT had well-qualified staff from Southland and around the world, in their Construction Department. “And finally, some of my friends who took this course at SIT had found good jobs afterwards, which gave me confidence that with the same effort, I could achieve that too.”
“After living here for six years, I consider myself half-Southlander, so SIT was the first choice for me.”
Heidi said SIT had a good structure in its curriculum. “It’s my understanding we had some classes that were designed for you to learn the rules of industry, such as Health and Safety, and Construction Economy; we also had some classes that were specific to being a Quantity Surveyor or Estimator, such as Measurement and Estimation - by learning in both these areas, we should become a well-rounded graduate for our future jobs.”
Heidi made good progress on her course, although initially she felt somewhat frustrated – while she was interested in construction she didn’t have any hands-on practical background in it. She said what helped her through was the guidance provided by her industry-experienced tutors.
“I met a lot of great people while at SIT, especially good tutors. They influenced me and deeply moved the way I think. They are my role models and I want to be like them. For example, our tutor Peter (Hardy) who has passed his retirement age, but is still teaching with passion. I admire him and I hope I will be the kind of person that contributes to society over my whole life.”
Heidi said one particular tutor, Samanthi Menike, gave her the best learning experience she’d had in her entire education. “She is very professional, in her classes you learn a lot. Her teaching is educational and pleasant. She is also very patient with her students and when we asked questions, she always answered them in detail to make sure we understood them.”
Heidi engaged in and enjoyed student life with her classmates. They had a study group, in which “we learned together, discussed questions together and went to ask questions to the teachers together. When we made progress, we celebrated together. It is certainly a good memory of my campus life at SIT,” she said.
High points of the course all came down to the quality Heidi experienced in the classroom. The teachers’ knowledge and working background in Quantity Surveying was a great help, she said. “Every question we asked, you would always get a very practical answer. These answers not only helped us to solve our doubts but were also very helpful for future work.” Classes were very informative and well-organised. Materials which teachers provided to the class were well prepared. “To be frank, when I have some uncertainty at work now, I review my handouts the tutor gave us at SIT”, said Heidi. She found the assessments given by the teachers were very useful too, as “they gave us a better understanding of what we learned”.
Gaining her Diploma in Construction has helped Heidi achieve her aspirations, she is now employed as a Quantity Surveyor in a HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) company in Auckland. “The qualification from SIT gave me the opportunity to get this job,” she said.
Although she realises she’s at the beginning of her career and knows there is still a long way to go, Heidi says the study she did at SIT gave her a steppingstone to enter into the Quantity Surveying field. “At present, my goal is to do my job well and make a good foundation for my future career... I really like my job, it suits me.”
“Studying at SIT exceeded my expectations. I met high-quality, engaging tutors and easygoing classmates who I believe will be lifelong friends.”