For the past few weeks, the 18-year-old carpentry student has turned up to work on the 236-home Kāinga Ora project Highbury Triangle in Avondale.

Montell is working thanks to CMP Construction through Construction Plus, a Kāinga Ora initiative that helps local communities impacted by urban development, by connecting people with training, employment and industry opportunities across Auckland and New Zealand.

CMP Construction awarded Montell the scholarship after he graduated from Kelston Boys’ High School. The aspiring carpenter received $5,000 for tools and equipment, employment with Certa Construction, and the opportunity to be a part of a project designed to provide homes for older people in need.

Montell works on the site, which is located between Great North Road, Ash Street and Community Lane, two days a week. He is mentored by Maxum Alexander and Sharn Buchanan from Certa Construction (one of CMP Construction’s subcontractors). He studies at Unitec the other days and after completing his qualification, he will be in full-time employment with Certa Construction.

“I’m glad I don’t have to wait till the end of the year to find a job.  It is a relief to know I already have one.”

Montell arrives on site at 7.30am and has so far learned how to cut materials and measure and mark the set ups for various rooms.

“I really enjoy being able to see how it all comes together and understand the process.”

His older colleagues say he has picked things up quickly and is well liked by the team.

Maxum says Montell is punctual and well organised.

“Montell brings a really great energy with him – the way he carries himself and is part of the team. When he came in, he just adopted our culture really easily.”

Dom Fleischl of CMP, the main contractor for Highbury Triangle, says the ability to provide an opportunity for a young person is just one of many social procurement outcomes delivered by the development.

“This project means a lot more than the bricks and mortar. It is valuable to see and is going to be a landmark for Avondale.”

Construction Plus Manager Nigel Chandra says it is great that build partners like CMP Construction offer initiatives to allow local students to transition from schools and training into the workforce.

“One day Montell may be mentoring another local student into the industry,” Nigel says.

In five years, Montell hopes to be well established in the trade, having developed the precision and thoroughness of his mentors Maxum and Sharn.

He says he will look at the buildings with pride.

“I know I will feel happy to think that I helped to make this. I can show my family that this was my first project – this was where I started.” 

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Page updated: 13 June 2023