From caregiver to lab testing

30 August 2016

From caregiver to lab testing

A science graduate has transformed her career from caregiving to lab testing, with a little help from NorthTec.

Angela Collings, from Whangarei, is now enjoying her job as a Fuels Technician at IPL (Independent Petroleum Laboratory), based on Refining NZ’s site at Marsden Point.

After working as a caregiver for several years, Angela was persuaded to give studying a go after her partner spotted a Facebook post by a NorthTec science tutor. Inspired by the post and aware that Angela wanted a change of career, her partner arranged for her to have an interview, and from there she enrolled for a NorthTec science programme.

Angela then rapidly worked her way through level 4 and level 5 certificates in science, before completing the National Diploma in Science (Technician).

After 18 months of study she graduated and, just a few weeks later, one of her tutors advised her to apply for a temporary position being advertised at IPL. Having previously visited the company on a student field trip with NorthTec, she felt confident to apply.

Her application was successful and Angela soon proved her worth, and was offered a permanent job at the petrochemical testing company, which she loves. She has been through a stringent training regime and thrives in the lab atmosphere, where safety, quality and efficiency are all hugely important.

Her job involves testing petroleum refined products at the different stages of the refining process, as well as testing the finished product tanks, before the fuel can be released.

Angela, 29, said: “I’m really enjoying the work – I love it, it’s really good. I wouldn’t have imagined myself doing this in the past, I don’t think I could ever have foreseen this.” She said she would not have been able to make the career change without the support and understanding of her family and tutors, and was motivated mainly by the desire to be a good example to her young son.

While she marvels at the way her life has changed since making the move into study and then a new career, Angela acknowledges that caregiving gave her some transferable skills which she still uses. “In both roles you need to be efficient, plan ahead, multi-task and work autonomously, as well as being aware of hazards;” she said.

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