In 2013, Unitec student Kate Ross was the first woman to compete at the national finals of the Registered Master Builders Carters Apprentice of the Year competition.
This followed her win at the Auckland regional competition, where she impressed the judges with her in-depth understanding of the building industry.
Kate has already completed her carpentry certificate at Unitec. Now she’s continuing her education with the Bachelor of Construction Management while undertaking a three-year apprenticeship with CG Low Building Ltd.
Kate initially started studying for an arts degree at the University of Auckland, before switching to construction because she wanted to do something more practical and career-focused.
According to Statistics New Zealand, less than 12 per cent of the construction industry is female. “I have met other women in the industry, although it is obviously male-dominated,” explains Kate. I do exactly the same work on site as the men - heavy lifting and everything. It’s never been an issue for me. The most important thing is having pride in what you do and wanting to do a good job.”
Building Lecturer Stephen Withers was absolutely delighted to see Kate do so well.
“Everyone here at Unitec is incredibly proud of Kate and she is such a strong role model for other women looking to get into the trades,” he says. “We would love to see more women like Kate coming through our programmes and succeeding in what has traditionally been a male dominated industry.”