Alice Liang hails from China and was already in the construction industry there, working as a Cost Supervisor prior to her move to New Zealand for further study.
“I was doing a similar job before I came to New Zealand, which was with a main contractor company in Beijing. But I found some specific terms and structure types in the construction industry were different compared to my country, so I made the decision to go back to college to gain more information about local construction knowledge.”
Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) came recommended through the education agency Alice dealt with; before starting the Bachelor in Construction, she set herself the goal to improve as much as she could in construction industry knowledge and skills.
SIT’s Bachelor of Construction aims to equip students with the intellectual rigour, skills and capability needed by construction professionals. Students can tailor their degree to their personal career goals by choosing one of three specialisations: Construction Management, Project Management, or Quantity Surveying.
Alice chose to specialise in Quantity Surveying and said she has acquired so much knowledge from the course. She learned through both theory and practical experience: construction principles and methods, building legislation, conflict management, contract conditions and administration, environmental sustainability and how to quantify and estimate material and labour costs.
She appreciated SIT’s real-world approach to learning and how it taught her in practice. “For example, for our measurement class, I learned how to use CostX which is quite commonly used in NZ for Quantity Surveying.” And that hands-on emphasis continued throughout her degree.
“In my third year, I could take part in the real project tender process – it was quite an efficient way for improving my understanding of the project.”
Alice said she places the most value in what she learned from the course, from the topics of Measurement and Estimation, because it will be her major area of expertise for future positions in the construction industry.
Such was her focus on her studies, Alice said she honestly didn’t have much time to join clubs or participate in student activities during her time at SIT; she said as an international student it was challenging dealing with study in a second language and the cultural diversity she experienced. “I needed to orientate myself to my new environment. Especially building law and contract law – they were the hardest subjects on the course for me.”
However, Alice didn’t walk through the toughest parts of the programme on her own, she mentioned tutor Samanthi Menike, who was a constant support during the three years of study.
Alice is thankful for all the assistance she received from SIT tutors and staff; post-graduation they remain supportive as she seeks out opportunities in the industry. “My tutors have provided many helpful suggestions for me to choose from.” She wants to use her new qualification to establish herself in the industry here. “My aim is to get an opportunity to work for a main contractor, involving a commercial project,” she said.