Scholarships help Manawatu builders upskill

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From left: Paal Iversen of Registered Master Builders Manawatu, UCOL executive dean engineering and applied technologies Danny Reilly, Jack Lord, Palmerston North MP Tangi Utikere, Connor Deane, Scholarships Committee chairman Darren Shadbolt, and Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge No. 47 Master Ainsley Watson after the presentation of the scholarships.

For Manawatu builders Jack Lord and Connor Deane, receiving a Freemasons Willson Lewis Scholarship is an opportunity to take their careers to the next level.

The Freemasons Willson Lewis Scholarship is a joint initiative between Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge No 47, UCOL and Registered Master Builders that began in 2017.

It is aimed at helping tradespeople working in the construction industry develop their skills further.

Scholarship recipients have the option of studying one of three programmes at UCOL part-time for a subsidised fee — the  New Zealand Diploma in Construction, the New Zealand Diploma in Architectural Technology, or the New Zealand Diploma in Business.

CEDA and Mitre 10 Mega Palmerston North also provided Mitre 10 gift vouchers to the scholarship recipients.

Lord joined Isles Construction as a labourer in 2017 after studying UCOL’s New Zealand Certificate in Construction Trade Skills (Carpentry). He went on to complete his building apprenticeship in October 2021.

“I feel grateful that people have seen my talent, my commitment to the trade, and my keenness to pursue it further,” Lord said on receiving his scholarship.

Unlocking creativity

He has chosen to study the New Zealand Diploma in Architectural Technology, as he has ideas around designing buildings that he wants to bring to life.

“I felt that the Architecture programme would be a great way to unlock my creativity,” he says.

Deane, a foreman at Turbine Residential with seven years of experience in building, will study the New Zealand Diploma in Construction.

He says the programme will give him the skills to step up into a project manager role.

“Construction has always been my passion from a young age, and I’m at the stage in my career where I’m ready to pursue it at a higher level and gain more well-rounded knowledge,” he says.

“I love being part of the team and on the tools. That said, I’m keen to take a bit of weight off my boss’ shoulders in terms of the paperwork side.”

UCOL executive dean engineering and applied technologies Danny Reilly says UCOL is proud to be part of a scholarship initiative that helps put learners through its highly successful construction and architectural technology programmes.

“The staff leading these programmes go above and beyond in not only teaching our learners, but also connecting them with employers,” Reilly says.

Graduates highly sought after

“Graduates of these programmes are highly sought after, and all gain employment.

Our skilled and passionate staff have achieved so much through hard work, tenacity, and a true desire to deliver for learners and industry. We need those qualities now more than ever before.

“I congratulate Jack and Connor on receiving their scholarships, and believe that they will make the most of this opportunity to expand their skill sets.”

Ainsley Watson, Master of Manawatu Kilwinning Lodge No. 47, says the Freemasons Willson Lewis Scholarships are an important part of the charitable contributions the Lodge makes to the community.

“We appreciate being able to help our recipients to further develop their knowledge and skills. We are pleased to be supported in this initiative by the Registered Master Builders, UCOL, and the national Freemasons Charity,” Watson says.

Registered Master Builders Manawatu president Shaun Mainwaring says the scholarships are a great way for the next generation of tradespeople to upskill and challenge themselves without having to leave the workforce.

“It’s great for our community to have quality skilled tradespeople giving back to our region, especially in these current times where there is a real shortage of qualified tradespeople,” he says.

“I hope the scholarship recipients gain wider knowledge within the building sector and that it helps them to move forward in their careers.

“I encourage builders who feel their financial situation could be a barrier to further study to apply for these scholarships in the future.”

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