Interns work on hospital rebuild

Published on

Two WITT ākonga have earned the opportunity to put their learning into practice thanks to a three-week internship with the Project Maunga hospital rebuild project at Te Whatu Ora in Taranaki.

This internship provides Asja Fairbrother and Jerin Reji with exposure to the construction of the New East Wing Building (NEWB) and other projects on site such as the Taranaki Cancer Centre in New Plymouth. NEWB is a 20,000sqm2, six-storey building that will house many of Taranaki Base Hospital’s acute services including ED and ICU.

They follow in the footsteps of former WITT ākonga Daniel Fernandes, Jack Kingston, Cynthia Wang and Sarah Charteris who have all gone on to work for Leighs Construction, the main contractor for NEWB.

Jack completed his internship over the summer 2023 break and in August he was offered part-time work with Leighs Construction. In what he described as dream timing, Jack was able to complete his New Zealand Diploma in Construction (Level 6) (Quantity Surveying) qualification and start full-time work in November.

He says he is gaining valuable experience working on the ‘services’ part of the build, helping coordinate the sub-trades like plumbing, electrical, HVAC and security.

“Landing this job is pretty awesome – it makes a big difference to my career,” he says after trading in his job as a brewer to retrain and seek work in the construction industry.

The scale and complexity of Project Maunga is described as a once-in-a-lifetime project for a region the size of Taranaki.

Leighs Construction has a history of investing in young leaders.

"Hosting interns and taking on graduates is one way the company gives back to the industry and invests in the local community," says Leighs Construction Ltd Project Director Daniel Tessier.

“We know it can be tough for graduates to get into the industry so working with WITT and creating opportunities for their students is a practical way we can give back to the region,” says Daniel.

International construction management student Jerin Reji, who has been awarded one of this year’s internships, is new to the idea of internships during study. In India, where he is from, they are more common post- study.

“I am excited to take this opportunity to see the things I have been taught in class in a real-world site and learn from the Project Maunga professionals, as they have great experience working all over the country. I am sure that I will be able to learn a lot from them which I believe I will not be able to learn from my classwork alone,” says Jerin.

The other internee, WITT Architectural Technology ākonga Asja Fairbrother, says she feels fortunate to be getting valuable work experience and networking opportunities at the halfway point in her two-year New Zealand Diploma in Architectural Technology (Level 6).

“It’s great to be learning what you wouldn’t learn in the classroom and meeting people in the wider construction community,” says Asja.

It was while she was a student at New Plymouth Girls High School that she first thought of working in architecture.

“I found the architecture technician qualification at WITT, which is two years compared to a five-year degree, and thought it was a good pathway,” says Asja.

Compared to friends who choose a university degree she feels well positioned to get straight into the industry with minimum debt.

Like any other job vacancy, the interns went through a robust application process including a written application, CV and interview outlining what they wanted to get out of the internship and what they had to offer the Project Maunga team.

The internships are sponsored by Te Whatu Ora in Taranaki and are a result of a partnership between WITT Te Pūkenga, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and Project Maunga to help generate the workforce needed for the project.

Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki is part of Te Pūkenga - New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology Learn more

Learn with purpose

Explore Te Pukenga

Te Kāwanatanga o Aotearoa - New Zealand Government

Te Kāwanatanga o Aotearoa - New Zealand Government

Copyright © 2024 Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki