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Young apprentice building a future

By UCOL on Friday, 23 July 2021

Krystine Vincent

Apprentice builder Krystine Vincent knew she was on the right career path when she helped build her first house.

While studying towards the  New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Carpentry) at UCOL Te Pūkenga Horowhenua, Krystine and her classmates built a two-bedroom home. 

“It was really exciting once it all started coming together. I was happy every day to go home and tell my mum and everyone about it. Building the house was a big accomplishment, and I thought it would be so cool to do this every day for a living.” 

“Knowing that I helped build a whole house that someone is going to live in with their family for years is cool,” says Krystine.
Krystine had wanted to give building a try since she was at Horowhenua College, but wasn’t having any luck getting a start in the industry due to her lack of experience.   

Krystine Vincent using a brad gun
She enrolled at UCOL Te Pūkenga under the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training (MPTT) training initiative to get a feel for carpentry. As an MPTT student, Krystine’s study was fees-free. She also received petrol vouchers to help with travel costs, steel cap boots, and tailored support from UCOL Te Pūkenga’s MPPT Co-odinator/Kaituhono Mahi Kaiarataki.  

“It was quite stressful covering the costs of groceries and flatting at the time, so the support I got through MPTT was a big help.”
“I still have my boots and wear them every day. When I signed up from my apprenticeship, I also got a $1,000 grant through MPTT, so I bought a nail gun and some drills. Through the carpentry course itself, we all got a tool belt, hammer, chisel, ruler, and all of the small things that we needed. It’s been a year and half and I’m still using all of that stuff.”

Krystine’s lecturer encouraged the class do work experience while studying. Krystine took on this advice and, after approaching a few building firms in Levin, found work at New Level Solutions. 

“I said I was doing the UCOL Te Pūkenga course to get experience. They thought that was awesome and took me on for a couple of days a week.”
“What I learnt on the job helped me at course, and the things I learnt at course helped me at work. When you’re on a worksite you’re going at a faster pace and learning different things, so it was really good to get that experience.”

Having graduated from UCOL Te Pūkenga in March, Krystine is now doing her apprenticeship fulltime with Palmerston North-based EBL Homes. 

“I love it. At the moment, we’re doing a 470 square metre house on the Pahiatua Track.  We’ll be doing a deck around the house – I’m pretty excited because I haven’t built one before. We’re up on a hill and you can see everything, and it’s nice and peaceful.” 

Krystine would encourage others to check out UCOL Te Pūkenga’s construction programmes for themselves. The New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Carpentry) Level 3 is also covered under the free Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF), which covers the full cost of tuition for all students. This funding is only available until the end of next year, so there’s never been a better time to get into the sector.