As New Zealand's building industry grows, young builders, like 23-year-old Asadullah Ishaqzada, are rising to meet this demand, with courses such as the NZ Certificate in Carpentry (NZCC) at Unitec|Te Pūkenga.
Arriving in New Zealand as a 17-year-old asylum seeker from Afghanistan, Asad faced some challenges settling into his new home. He first studied English language at the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) then the NZ Certificate in Carpentry (NZCC) at Unitec|Te Pūkenga.
His journey at Unitec was made easier thanks to supportive lecturers, he says. “Having such understanding teachers, especially when you’re new to a country, really helped me settle in.”
The course is designed to help students from overseas, says lecturer Angus Robertson.
“The Carpentry department has a strong emphasis on pastoral care and support, and the programme is designed to be accessible to those with English as a second language.”
The program mixes theory and practical courses. Students learn in class and then practise their new skills on building sites, and with most classes in the afternoons and evenings, they don't have to miss work.
The NZCC program lasts four years, split into 32 courses. “The scope of the work is large, from site preliminaries, tooling requirements and site set-up through to understanding building processes, materials and sequences, all leading to successful completion of a construction project,” says Senior Lecturer Christ Stoddard
A standout feature is the practical portfolio students compile from their real-world tasks. Partnering with employers, Unitec ensures students demonstrate competence, with regular checks and “sign-offs” when set standards are achieved. Paired with frequent site visits by lecturers ensure continuous learning and engagement with Unitec continue.
This results in a formal qualification as a carpenter/builder and a big step towards application to become a Licensed Building Professional capable of signing off “restricted work”( officially consented work ).
Asadullah’s positive attitude shines a light on the potential of the NZCC. His mix of hard work, Unitec's support, and hands-on training is building his bright future, says Chris.