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Scary but exciting – why it’s never too late to study construction

  • Unitec_KaingaOra_houseBuilding

It doesn’t matter when you start, “education is for life”.

21 January 2022

When 49-year-old Sione Pulu signed up for Unitec’s Diploma in Construction (Quantity Surveying) he wasn’t entirely sure what Quantity Surveying (QS) was actually all about.

All he knew was that it was an essential part of any construction project getting off the ground, ensuring large construction projects would run smoothly at every stage of the build. More importantly, it would suit his love of maths.

A year into his studies, the Tongan-born South Aucklander couldn’t be happier with his decision to sign up for the course. 

“I’ve always wanted to go back to school but work, family and church meant there was little time to study towards a tertiary qualification, but a year ago I managed to free up some time so decided to jump in and give it a go.

“At first it was tough going. Things have changed a lot since I was in high school, especially on the technology front, but the support I received from Unitec, the lecturers and also my fellow students got me up to speed and I’m so glad I took the plunge.”

Sione studies part-time as he still works full-time at a steel shelving fabrication plant in East Tamaki. This means the 2-year full-time diploma will take four years, but Sione isn’t worried about that. He’s says education is for life and is determined to make it work.

“It was scary at first, but I love the challenge and growing my knowledge. I’ve already got a whole new understanding of how construction works and even look at buildings in a different way. I do work hard but have managed to get high marks for everything I’ve submitted despite QS being a completely new field of interest for me.”

Sione is also encouraged by the number of well-paid job opportunities on offer once he’s completed his studies.

“Construction firms are always emailing Unitec looking for graduates and even current students for internships – so there are clearly lots of options once I’ve finished the diploma. But at this stage, I’m just loving learning.”

Unitec’s track record of a successful practical and industrial based teaching style means students like Sione are held in high regard. More than 96 percent of Unitec’s Construction graduates gain employment after graduation with dozens of former students now company directors, owners and associates.

Paul Jeurissen, the Head of Unitec’s School of Building Construction, says the engineering and infrastructure industry offers graduates extremely busy and rewarding opportunities.

“At Unitec we are proud of our school, staff, student graduates and the seamless connections we have established within the industry we serve.

“Our programmes offer flexible modes of delivery to try and meet ongoing student commitment and pressure.

“Students like Sione become mentors for other students wishing to take the courageous step in changing their career path particularly during the difficult times we are all experiencing. 

“It’s a real privilege to be educating and helping Sione achieve his career aspirations.”

Unitec is the only education provider in New Zealand that offers the full spectrum of architecture and building construction courses across Architecture, Construction, Civil Engineering and Trades.


To learn more about what programmes and study pathways Unitec’s School of Building Construction has to offer click here.