Engineering ākonga success

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Five years after graduating with a Graduate Diploma in Engineering (Highways) Nisha Dahal has an enviable position project managing key infrastructure projects for Gisborne District Council. 

Nisha came to New Zealand with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering from her home country of Nepal and chose the NZIHT one-year graduate diploma as she felt it would have a good chance of leading to rewarding employment. 

“I wanted to work in construction engineering, which is an in-demand area, and this was the best course for me,” says Nisha.

Her qualifications first saw her working for Downers Construction in Hamilton, followed by GHD in Taumarunui, where the region reminded her of her home in Kathmandu, before her move to Gisborne District Council where she works as a Design and Contract Engineer.

“I am getting broad experience project managing up to eight water-related infrastructure projects at one time for the district.”

She enjoyed her studies and recalls that the tutors demonstrated concepts in a very relatable way and helped introduce students to the New Zealand workplace culture.

“New Zealand and Australia have particular standards and it is also important to learn the culture of the New Zealand construction industry.”

She advises anyone completing qualifications like these in New Zealand that it is up to you to create opportunities – there’s no guarantee of a job and says you need to get out of your comfort zone. To get a foot in the door of the industry in New Zealand, Nisha first worked as a traffic controller.

A mere five years later, Nisha is now a role model for others and is happily settled in Gisborne with her partner, who she met on the programme, and a pet dog.

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