Trades scholarship funds ‘lifelong dream’
A new UCOL fund is providing a pathway for women to work in trades.
UCOL has started its first women in trades scholarship and 16 UCOL students have received a share of $11,500.
Launched this year, with support from two confidential donors and Mitre 10, students can use the funding to cover the cost of tools, travel, technology upgrades, professional development opportunities and more.
The goal was straightforward for UCOL’S executive dean of engineering and applied technologies Danny Reilly. ‘‘We want to encourage women into the trades sector, help them overcome barriers and give them a great kick-start to their career so they succeed.’’
Grant recipient Sarah-lee Gurnick is studying a New Zealand certificate in electrical engineering theory and she planned to start her own business.
‘‘My partner is a builder, and I’ve always helped him with his work projects and thoroughly enjoyed it.’’
After working for five years in retail, Gurnick realised it wasn’t something she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
The grant and her interest in trades was enough for her to make the call.
‘‘If it wasn’t for them, it would have been challenging for me to sort out my tools and travel expenses. The best part about my programme is that I get to meet like-minded people, discuss possible theories and collaborate on new ideas.
‘‘One of my classmates is working on building his own generator. I mean, how cool is that?’’ said Gurnick, who planned to visit the Te A¯ piti wind farm to learn more about how windmills worked.
New Zealand diploma in construction student Nitisha Saras was another recipient. She always knew construction was her calling, but never had the chance to pursue it until now.
‘‘Choosing this field wasn’t an easy choice, given I was leaving 12 years of academic teaching experience behind, but I like challenges.
‘‘I’ve always wanted to become a site manager and last year I decided it was time to pursue my lifelong dream.’’
UCOL opened the next round of the scholarship last week and has up to another $12,000 to give.
Applications close on August 6.