Andreas Takayama loves the Queenstown life so much, that when he moved there in 2017 to take a summer job, he says “I pretty much never left... it’s a lifestyle choice – it’s good fun.”
Andreas is originally from Whanganui but was raised in Invercargill. He’s studying and training in Carpentry (Level three) at SIT Queenstown.
Prior to choosing carpentry Andreas studied in some other fields, including a stint at university studying Japanese and then SIT Invercargill in 2015, where he completed a Certificate in Travel and Tourism, enjoying the benefit of being able to study in his home town, making it a convenient option for him.
After working four years in hospitality, Andreas took a break with a working holiday to Germany in 2019, where he worked in logistics for 4-5 months. It made him realise he wanted to have skills which would fit with the working – travelling lifestyle.
When he returned to New Zealand, Andreas needed a change from the hospitality industry, saying he just felt “over it”, especially after Covid. Even though he managed to keep his job during lockdown, Andreas was ready to try something else. Carpentry appealed because he’d dabbled with it in the past so he wanted to give it a go - he’s glad he did, he says, “It’s a comfortable fit and I’m actually really enjoying it.”
“I chose SIT because I had studied there before and I wanted to start doing something else for the future.”
He’s also chosen a course where he gets to train without any fees, so isn’t increasing his student loan. “I’m upskilling without adding any further debt” he said.
Andreas says on a typical day, the Carpentry course runs from 8.30am to 4pm. “Basically I turn up and work, but I have fun while I’m doing it... it’s great so far and everyone seems to get along.”
“The tutors are great and I’m actually learning and getting stuff done.” He says they’re the perfect balance of “not too strict, but not too casual and they’re really good at keeping us safe on the building site”.
Enjoying both the practical and theory content of the carpentry programme in equal measure, Andreas says doing the course has changed the way he thinks and he is discovering there’s much more to building a house than meets the eye. “It’s just made me realise you don’t know much about building houses till you actually do it.”
As he was already living in Queenstown prior to starting study, Andreas said he hasn’t needed SIT support outside of the classroom so far, but knows he can access it when he needs to, and is looking forward to making the most of the networking, industry contacts and employment advice SIT offers to students, helping them successfully transition into employment after graduating. “The tutors are focused on us learning skills at present, then I expect there’ll be more (employment) help at the end.”
The highpoint of Andreas’ time studying at SIT, is having the chance to meet people from a variety of different backgrounds. The mix of people on his course is good, he said. “It’s pretty diverse and we all get to learn about each other,” and he appreciates there are mature students on the course with him, who have more life experience.
Andreas is confident he will get an apprenticeship when he finishes his course and it gives him self-confidence about his future goals as well. He has skills in two different fields (tourism and building) which should both travel well.
“Long term I want to live overseas again, and hopefully with a qualification like this I can actually get a good job in many different places.”
Andreas can recommend studying Carpentry at SIT to prospective students, because it’s a good learning environment and the people are so nice. “If you don’t try, then you’ll never know,” he says. “I can see a career with Carpentry, and I can take it anywhere.” he added.