Peter Cameron is proof that it is never too late to build on your skills.
On the one-year anniversary of collecting his pension, the 66-year-old is now studying towards a
New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Carpentry) at UCOL’s Horowhenua campus.
After a long and varied work life including time at the Ministry of Defence HQ, the Wellington Housing Trust and in market research, Peter is now pursuing a long-held interest in carpentry.
“Building has always appealed to me,” says Peter. “I originally looked at employment as a plumber but later ended up building with Habitat for Humanity as a hammer hand.”
Peter says he has always been community orientated and has been a Red Cross President, a Red Cross Emergency Response Unit volunteer in Porirua, and a Trustee on both a Christian Youth Camp and an Environmental Trust. But it is his current volunteer work with his local parish, Levin Uniting Church, where his new skills will be most useful. “I have helped build five houses with Habitat for Humanity over the years, and this course ties it all in with a qualification,” says Peter. “I will have a few more skills to help with maintenance at church, to keep the place running and safe to attend.”
Peter chose to study at UCOL in Horowhenua saying, “It has a good reputation among both its students and employers. It also has a great course range, and this one was very affordable. The hands-on instruction and practical nature of the construction course also appealed to me.”
Peter says although he is the oldest by a dozen or so years in his class, regardless of age, his approach is to be honest, be friendly, be helpful, and ask for help when needed – “You are all in the same boat and are all there to learn new skills.”
“The speed that our class has come together and offered each other mutual support has been great,” he says.
Peter’s year-long New Zealand Certificate programme will finish in December and he hopes his qualification will open up the possibility of more work with a builder friend, in addition to his other volunteer duties.
Peter acknowledges the support he has received from UCOL through his enrolment process and subsequent learning.
“The age range at UCOL makes for a great community, it’s not a barrier to learning,” he says.