Publication:

Manawatu Guardian - 2021-07-22

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Scholarships given to tradie women

STEPPING OUT

Sixteen UCOL students received a total of $11,500 through the institute’s first Women in Trades scholarship. Launched this year with support from two anonymous local donors and Mitre 10, the students will use the funding to cover the cost of tools, travel expenses, technology upgrades, professional development opportunities and more. “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,” the executive dean of engineering and applied technologies, Danny Reilly, says. New Zealand Diploma in Construction student Nitisha Saras was among the first recipients. She always knew construction was her calling but never got the chance to pursue it. “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,” Saras says. Based in Whanganui, the mum-ofone travels to Palmerston North every week to attend lectures. Her scholarship fund helped cover the cost of a driver’s licence test, site boots and a hard drive for storing her study notes. “Travelling and juggling priorities is tiring but I’m enjoying learning new things. It’s the best decision I’ve made and all thanks to UCOL — they recognised my need, motivated me and are helping me achieve my academic goal. For all this, I’m so grateful.” Fellow grant recipient Sarah-lee Gurnick is pursuing the New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory. She plans to start her own business. “My partner is a builder and I’ve always helped him with his work projects and thoroughly enjoyed it,” Gurnick says. After working for five years in retail, Gurnick realised it wasn’t something she wanted to do for the rest of her life. “This, and my interest in trades, were enough for me to make the call. It’s been a good couple of months since I enrolled with UCOL. If it wasn’t for them, it would have been challenging for me to sort out my tools and travel expenses,” she says. “The best part about my programme is that I get to meet likeminded 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?” UCOL students who are interested in applying for this scholarship can visit the scholarships section of UCOL’s website. Applications close August 6.

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