Careers in infrastructure can mean many different things and can lead to work on some of New Zealand’s most important public works.
Meet two Connexis | Te Pūkenga learners working for HEB Construction on the crucial Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway, linking Ashhurst and Woodville.
Samantha Higgins is a Senior Field Technician/KTP (Key Technical Person) for Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway. She works for HEB Construction and is currently completing her NZ Certificate in Civil Engineering – Field Strand.
I’ve been with HEB Construction a little over two years. My previous manager offered me a job on this project. I wanted a change and I thought it would be cool to try something new.
The highlight of my work so far has probably been becoming the KTP.
I love that I get to be practical and work outside. I also love that there is a lot of variety in where I will be working on the project, and what needs to be done.
What I enjoy about my training is that I can do it while I am at work and that it is so easily shown in my work.
The biggest challenge so far in my work has probably been having the confidence in dealing with contractors and engineers. Being new to the industry and quite young, it was quite daunting telling them why tests have failed and backing myself.
I’d tell other women coming into a role like this to not be afraid to ask lots of questions to get clarification and have the confidence to back yourself.
Renee Bryce is a Lab Technician for Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway Project. She works for HEB Construction and is currently completing her NZ Certificate in Civil Engineering – Laboratory.
I’ve been with HEB Construction about 13 months. I applied because my sister said they were hiring. She was already working here and could tell me about the working atmosphere and how we were made to feel welcomed.
I love learning about the testing; the ‘why’ we do it and the results that then help make the project successful. It’s also the people that I work with. My team actually works really well together. I also enjoy the regular visits from our local rep for my training.
I do sampling for the pavements, which will start on the project soon. We’ve been doing earthworks to date. When I first started, the sampling bags out the front were everywhere. I have since tidied these up, categorised them and made it a lot easier for our team.
I am still working out [my career aspirations] but I am trying to gain as much knowledge and experience in the lab. If earthworks engineering is an option, I would love to go for that.
My biggest challenge so far has been testing samples accurately and trying not to make mistakes because it does affect others and what happens on site.
I’d tell other women coming into a role like this not to hesitate. The women that I work with are really hard working, and we keep the guys in line.
Image: Samantha Higgins, left, and Renee Bryce completing a compaction test near an underpass on the Te Ahu a Turanga: Manawatū Tararua Highway project site.