Succeeding in the construction industry

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Whitireia carpentry graduate Azaria Felagai is pursuing her career goal to become a qualified builder and showing other young women considering a career in building that you can succeed in the construction industry.

Azaria is currently part of a busy carpentry team who are in the final stages of completing a remediation project in Wellington. On the site she is one of four apprentices. 

As well as working and learning on the job Azaria is studying in the evenings one night per week at the Wellington Regional School of Construction through WelTec in Petone to become a qualified builder plus attending other classes as needed. In 2016 she completed a carpentry qualification through Whitireia.

In October, Azaria was recognised by her peers as the most promising first year student in construction when she won the New Zealand Institute of Building's Most Promising First-Year Student award. The award, sponsored by LT McGuinness, was presented at a ceremony in Wellington. Nominated by her Hawkins Site Manager Darren Mead, Azaria was commended for her hard work, enthusiasm and giving her best at everything she has been asked to do.

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Azaria Felagai on the site

Azaria does more than the average person says Hawkins Foreman Joe Witana. “She has gone above and beyond her current role and is undertaking training to become our Site Safety Officer. She runs the weekly Toolbox meetings on health and safety, and leads the site team for the daily on site safety check which is a critical part of our operation. When Azaria started with Hawkins she was very reserved. As part of her health and safety role she is now communicating with a lot more people, and regularly addressing groups of people. She’s a natural.”

"I’m happy to be doing this job," says Azaria. "I was pleased to receive NZIOB recognition and to make my family proud. I want to keep progressing in the construction industry to become a fully qualified builder."

Hawkins Leading Hand Simon Gray says "Azaria is doing really well. She is committed. She wants to be here, is always on time even though she is travelling to Wellington City from Porirua every day."

"We’re lucky to have Azaria as part of our team. We want to employ more young women like Azaria who have the same work ethic, passion for construction and commitment to the job," says Joe Witana.

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Azaria Felagai with Simon Gray (left) and Joe Witana (right)

"There are so many opportunities for young enthusiastic people in this industry" says Hawkins Wellington Regional Manger Matt Wilton.

A report published by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, has shown that for the Wellington region demand for carpenters and joiners will grow by about 8 per cent from around 1600 employees in 2016 to 1727 by 2022.