Pushing the envelope
After years of tinkering, Kirsty Currie is immersing herself in the building sector.
Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4) - replaced by the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) (Carpentry)
One key challenge was being a girl in this male industry but I’d just go with the flow and did my work. I am just as capable of building as a male.
Kirsty Currie has always had an interest in building things.
As a small child, she’d play around with various materials at hand. And as she got older, she enjoyed getting stuck in, “building all sorts of things”, including offering to help the various tradespeople employed to work on her parents’ property.
After all those years tinkering, Kirsty decided to immerse herself fully in the building sector. She completed a Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4)* at Otago Polytechnic last year and is now working as an apprentice for Dunedin firm Beelee Homes Ltd.
“I wanted a career in building and the Carpentry Certificate was just the start for me. It is something that I should have been doing years ago,” Kirsty says.
“We got to learn the basic skills of building and the use of tools and machinery, but also had the opportunity to build a house that gets auctioned off to the public.
“This was a great eye-opener about the amount of work, timber and fixtures that go into building a house but also the number of people involved. Dealing with the owners, contractors, everyone . . . it was a huge operation.”
“As I reflect back on my studies, I learnt that there isn’t just one way of doing something. Everyone has their own way of completing certain things and it is about figuring out what works best for each individual.
A “hands-on girl”, Kirsty says she benefited greatly from various work placements throughout 2017.
“It was great to be able to work alongside qualified builders and see how the "real world" works when it comes to building.
“One key challenge was being a girl in this male industry but I’d just go with the flow and did my work. I am just as capable of building as a male.”
Grant Beel, Director of Beelee Homes Ltd, says Kirsty might have only started with the firm six months ago, but she has already shown that “she will be a leader within our industry”.
He’s looking forward to seeing Kirsty’s progression over the next few years.
“From the very first day, she showed she was interested on how all the aspects of building a house work, from the foundation to the completion of the job.
She was always asking questions and taking the plans home to study, to be prepared for the following day’s task. She always wants to be able to complete the job on hand to her best capability.”
As well as working hard towards completing her apprenticeship, Kirsty has another dream —to build a home for her partner, children and their dog.
“I am looking forward to putting everything that I am learning on a daily basis and giving back to my family.”
For the past eight years, Kirsty has run her own personal training business. Having played sport for many years, she always had a high level of fitness. Yet building tested her limits, too.
“The demand that it has on your body and strength is insane, but I love the challenge of pushing myself, especially when it comes to the lifting side of things.
“You use muscles that you don’t know you had.”
*The Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4) has been replaced by the New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Level 3) (Carpentry)