Student builds bridge to employment

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Taking part in WITT’s Build a Bridge programme one day a week while at secondary school last year was enough to land ex Francis Douglas Memorial College ākonga William Faoagali an apprenticeship with infrastructure company Fulton Hogan.

“We have a focus on investing in the future and William ticked the right boxes for us – he’s got a great attitude, a willingness to learn and shows commitment,” says Fulton Hogan Contracting Division Manager Kimberly de Vries.

Last year William and his classmates worked on an industry project, building the Camden Street footbridge over the Huatoki River.  This was a collaboration between WITT, NZIHT School of Engineering, Energy and Infrastructure, Fulton Hogan, WSP and NPDC, with assistance from Whitaker Civil Engineering and Downer Group.

“Build a Bridge was a great way to find something you might be interested in while still completing school. As the course progressed I saw the opportunity to get an apprenticeship if I could prove I had the ability and the work ethic to do it,” says Faoagali.

Now William is part of the team at Fulton Hogan and has worked on footpaths, helped build a water tank concrete foundation at the New Plymouth Wastewater Treatment Plant and has been involved in a road project too. William will be starting a carpentry apprenticeship this year.

“We make a conscious effort to move our apprentices around - working on different sites with different people and exposing them to as much as we can. You pick up different things from different foreman and get a taste for what we do,” says de Vries.

Not only is William getting the opportunity to be part of a highly respected, Australasian-wide organisation and gain a qualification while he works, perhaps one day he will also realise his dream of building his whānau a home. 

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