Caitlin Harvey had taken a year off her university studies in engineering and her father had recently bought a house that needed renovating. While her dad was researching tertiary education options for Caitlin’s step-sisters, he came across the Southern Institute of Technology and was intrigued by the Zero Fees scheme.
Fast forward and Caitlin had enrolled into the Certificate in Construction so she could gain more experience and confidence with power tools and general building. Three days a week were spent on campus and the other days she worked on her father’s house.
Beyond some painting and general maintenance work, Caitlin didn’t have any experience in construction before studying at SIT. She proved she could handle anything they threw at her, managing to pick up awards for top student as well as the award for excellence in carpentry apprenticeship.
“The tutors are extremely friendly and make you feel comfortable. This allows you to ask more questions, something you don’t feel comfortable doing at university with hundreds of other students and a busy lecturer.”
She is now completing an apprenticeship at Highview Builders Ltd, which involves assisting her boss and other builders on the site and working towards becoming a qualified builder.
“I plan to complete my apprenticeship. After that I’ll either continue with building or start another apprenticeship in plumbing or electrical.”
Caitlin would definitely recommend her course as “it’s an extremely friendly and great environment to learn in, while the zero fees scheme is helpful and makes studying less stressful.”
Smaller class sizes and excellent facilities are also a bonus, with one of the stand out activities of the programme being the heights course.
“It allowed our group to work together and get to know and trust each other. This helped us when building the house”.
Building is still a male dominated industry but Caitlin doesn’t get treated any different than other apprentices. “I don’t notice it. Most guys are very accepting and respect women in the industry. I’ve never had a problem with men whilst I’ve been in construction.”
Having now lived in Invercargill for a while, Ashish has already begun looking for an apprenticeship and plans on continuing his trade within the region. “I’m looking for work locally - I want to stay here because it’s not busy like other cities.”