Tendy loved her previous job in graphic design but, along with thousands of other Kiwis, Covid-19 threw her into a world of uncertainty.

During Aotearoa’s Alert Level 4 lockdown in 2020, her hours “just weren’t there”, she said.

“They just slowly got less and less … because I’ve got a family, two kids, I basically knew that I needed to find something else because I needed the job security.

“I needed to know that I was going to be able to support them, and so I decided to look elsewhere, make a career change and try carpentry.”

When she began her apprenticeship with Home Construction, Tendy became one of 144 cadets and apprentices hired so far through Kāinga Ora Construction Partnering Agreements in Christchurch and Auckland. More than 190 people have joined the Kāinga Ora Apprenticeship Programme over all.

The agreements guarantee work for Kāinga Ora build partners while requiring them to hire and have a proportion of skilled work completed by apprentices.

“These agreements enable our build partners to secure investment, retain staff, innovate and further develop the skills of their workforce,” said Julian Crawley, Kāinga Ora Construction Partners Relationship Manager. 

“At the same time, having many of our developments in Auckland and Christchurch allocated to build partners upfront leads to shorter construction timeframes – meaning people needing a place to call home can get there faster.”

In Auckland, five build partners – Constructa, Home, Signature, Precision Construction and Penny Homes – signed up in 2019 to deliver about 1350 homes over a three-year period.

Over a similar timeframe, at least 360 homes will be built under these partnering agreements by four construction companies in Christchurch – Miles Construction, Consortium, Constructa and Home.

Paul, Home’s General Manager, said “the reciprocity’s been fantastic” since Tendy came on board.

“Tendy’s going great … we were looking at hiring an apprentice down here with our CPA programme, so it kind of all fell into place. She’s been fantastic since she joined us,” he said.

“She gets on well with everyone, she has a fantastic attitude, good work ethic and supports our other crew and build partners on site.”

For Tendy, her new career path was also an opportunity to be a positive role model to her two daughters. She also wanted to encourage other women not to be dissuaded from pursuing a career in the trades.

“I just think if you’ve got the feeling or you’ve got the itch to want to give something a go, you know, don’t get in your own way.

“Just give it a go.” 

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Page updated: 27 August 2021