The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) held the Award Ceremony on Tuesday evening, December 3 at the Civic Theatre in Invercargill, with many women receiving awards for their excellent contribution within the trades sector.
Certificate in Pre-trade Joinery student Nicola Brunold is a hands-on creative person who loved making rustic pieces of furniture, so when she learnt about the course at the Southern Institute of Technology (SIT), she was quick to jump on board.
She said she learnt a lot from the course, from hand tool use and maintenance right through to machinery use and safety.
“Alongside my individual projects, I had the opportunity to work as part of a group to make and install a kitchen for one of the houses built by the carpentry department,” said Nicola.
Not only did she gain skills and knowledge, she is also more confident and has secured both an apprenticeship at Pooles Joinery and the Laminex NZ Award for 2019 for Top Student – Joinery Pre-employment.
“To be honest, I was very shocked to find out that I had won the Laminex Award, but also very humbled and proud of what I have achieved.”
Another student following her passion, is Fernanda Ehrat Meinert who is studying the Diploma in Architectural Technology at SIT.
Although only part way through the course, she has already learnt a lot about the technical aspects of architecture and how to behave and communicate in the construction world.
“I hope to find a job in my area and continue to study, so I can expand my knowledge in architecture and encourage other women to do it,” she said.
“It’s great to know that more and more women are looking for a career in trades.”
As the recipient of this year’s ADNZ – Southland Branch Award for Best Presented Resolved Residential Design – Year 1 NZ Diploma in Architectural Technology (Level 6), Fernanda said she feels extremely happy and proud of myself.
“That’s why, as a woman who has the opportunity and encouragement to study, I believe we should assist other women to do it as well, so we can continue to conquer our space in the trades, or wherever we want, on our way to equity.”
Lynley Lott won the Building and Construction ITO Award for the most improved student in Joinery Pre-Trade.
She was at a stage in her life where she wanted to undertake study in an area of interest that would also lead to a new career challenge.
“SIT offered a programme that met my needs in terms of cost, location and duration of study,” Lynley said.
“I learnt skills that would enable me to enter the industry and give future employers’ confidence that I could demonstrate a safe work attitude.
“I was given opportunities working with, and learning about, different materials used in the joinery industry.”
Currently working with the team at Ocean Shell Studios in Riverton, Lynley is learning a lot about creating quality Rimu and Paua products, further adding to her knowledge and confidence working with wood.
She was pleased to be recognized by her tutors for her personal growth in an industry that is new and exciting to her.
“There was a great bunch of students in the class and we worked really well together,” said Lynley.
“Being a mature student, who hadn’t studied for many years, I had wonderful support from the tutors that allowed me to experiment with materials and finishes on items that we produced.”
Carpentry student Brianna Morrison was the recipient of the Southland Registered Master Builders Association Award for the top student in Carpentry Pre-Trade, Group 3.
She decided to study carpentry at SIT as she had always enjoyed working with timber and creating something new out of it.
“I also liked proving to myself and others that I am also capable of hard manual work.
“I chose to study building, because I didn’t want a job where I would be stuck in an office all day.”
Within the course Brianna learnt and built up confidence using tools and the different components of a house and how to build one.
At the end of the course she is hoping to find an apprenticeship in the building trade to further her duties and become a qualified builder or carpenter.
“I feel proud of myself for achieving the award and it proves to me and others that a female can belong in a trade and be just as good as a guy.”
Architectural Technology Diploma student Rafaela Poffo was awarded the John Edmond Centennial Scholarship Fund Award for the Most Outstanding and Deserving Diploma Student.
She came to New Zealand from Brazil to study architecture at SIT.
Besides learning about the technical side of architecture, Rafaela said she has learnt that the community here is ready to give everyone a space to grow and join the workforce.
“We were all very lucky to have supportive tutors who walked alongside us during these two years, teaching us about real life experiences, setting a good example, and helping us find jobs in the area,” she said.
Already working locally as an architectural technician, Rafaela aims to keep studying to achieve her dream of a PhD in Architecture.
She felt special and relieved to win the award as an international, female student.
“I also put a lot of effort and worked really hard to move across the globe and make the most of my studies.
“To be awarded as most outstanding and deserving diploma student showed me that, no matter if it is considered a male career, or if people simply don’t see you fitting in that certain area, if you fight for it, you can achieve anything.”