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“I chose to come to NorthTec and Northland because I believe this is where I will experience the ‘real’ New Zealand. Northland provides more than I expected, it is beautiful in every way– the natural landscape, forests and seas, the relaxed lifestyle, and the people here are so kind. I also love the warm climate in Northland and it is a quiet, peaceful place to live.
“New Zealand building styles are quite different to that in China, where I come from. It`s hard to find two similar buildings here, they are all unique and beautiful. This helped me to make up my mind to study Architectural Technology.
“What I love about studying Architectural Technology in NorthTec is that everyone has such great ideas, and we were able to transfer the ideas into reality by working together, which is pretty cool.
“It’s a fun programme and the tutors were very helpful, as well as my classmates. This is especially important for an international student whose first language is not English.
“The living cost in Northland is a lot cheaper compared to other cities, and it`s easier to commute to work or study. Whangarei is not a large place but you receive all the opportunities you need. I knew there was always help available if I needed it.
“One thing I will always take away from my studies at NorthTec was how to research, how to ask questions, and how to work well with others. These fundamental skills will help me throughout my career.
“Working at Donovan Group as a Structural Designer is a great job to be in. I design the structure for steel buildings large and small from all over New Zealand. I model the building in 3D software and generate drawings for consent. Once approved, I clean up the model and make sure every detail is perfect before sending it to the factory to manufacture every single part - columns, beams etc. Then the kitset will be sent onsite wherever it is in New Zealand.
“So far, I have done nearly 100 projects and am really enjoy helping to build the country that I am living in!”
Working with Archi-CAD is the thing I love most about the course but it is also the most challenging thing for me. I...
“Since I was a kid I’ve always liked drawing buildings and then through high school I started getting into construction. I was born in Fiji, came to New Zealand in 2011 and finished high school here. I looked at studying architecture in Auckland but my brother and sister had both been to NorthTec so I found out about the course here.”
“Working with Archi-CAD is the thing I love most about the course but it is also the most challenging thing for me. I thought architecture would all about drawing but it’s mostly computerised and CAD is a challenge to learn. I’m surprised at how much is involved in architecture technology apart from design and construction. We visited the council a few weeks back to learn about how to register a building and there’s lot to learn about regulations and procedure. I enjoy processing all that information, but I have my days.”
“The tutors explain everything fully, and I’m the youngest in our class so I also have the advantage of learning from students who have construction or other related work experience. In return I can help them with some of the current trends.”
“When I get my diploma I want to work with an architect to see how they work and to get experience. I may on go to study a degree architecture but for now I’m keeping my options open.”
I especially love the CAD and the modern technology that we use. It’s fast and the results look really professional.
“I decided to do this course because of the TV show Fixer upper. I’ve studied other things in the 10 years I’ve been living in New Zealand and I’ve been working as a chef, but studying architectural technology means I can get into business flipping houses with my wife.”
“I especially love the CAD and the modern technology that we use. It’s fast and the results look really professional. The architectural language is a bit of a challenge for me, because even though I’ve lived here for 10 years, it’s a specific language of its own. And the course is more complex and detailed than I realised from reading the brochure online.”
“However, the students and tutors are great and really friendly. We’re quite a mix of ages and experience and some of the students have a building background and are helpful in sharing their knowledge.”
“Getting this qualification will open the door for me to get into business. I will have knowledge on house design and construction, and the regulations and compliances that relate to that. First I will get a job to get some experience and some money, then my dream is to be in the business of house renovation (or flipping) with my wife. She has her own additional interest in tiny houses so there are also possibilities there.”
“I love designing and this course is helping me understand why we do what we do when we’re building. It’s extending...
“I had been working as a builder but got injured last year so decided it was time to change. By extending into design, I can still draw if I get hurt.”
“I love designing and this course is helping me understand why we do what we do when we’re building. It’s extending my horizons of what’s possible. I would tell anyone now to push your limits.”
“Working out all the detail for the working drawings is a stretch for me, but it’s interesting because we have to explore options within council restrictions, and choose the right materials. We touch on everything from water flow, corrosion, types of soil, as well as the expected building subjects.”
“Our class is a good little unit with a range of different skills, plus we get help from the year 2 students.”
“My main goal is to design and build my own buildings and sell them. It’s something I can take anywhere in New Zealand. My first step when I finish the course though will be to find work in the industry.”
I love the intensity of this course. I also like how one tutor emphasizes how to be professional in this field and...
“By coming here straight from school I’ve put myself in a position where I’m forced to either bend or break. I’m amazed and how fast and intensive my learning is and I’m loving it.”
“As a kid my favourite toy was a transformer. It could become something else. I loved finding ways to improve and re-think things, and I’ve been told I have a keen eye for creativity and design. My sister advised me to come here and that decision has breathed life into my path. It has connected a lot of dots. Saying yes to things has really helped me move forward.”
“By stretching to learn new things, it’s incredible how it affects every aspect of your life. If say, I’m really engaged and learning in class, it lifts my table tennis game in my youth mentor role.”
“The hardest part is to start. It’s far harder to start than to continue. You have to have the mind-set to evolve and open yourself to new learning. Your body then does what your mind says.”
“I love the intensity of this course. I also like how one tutor emphasizes how to be professional in this field and the other one focuses on how to develop yourself in architecture and in your life. It’s helped me create my own aspirations for being here.”
“From the foundation of doing this course, I’m going to study at the Sydney School of Architecture because my sister lives there and because it’s a complete change of scene. I want to get my PhD in Architecture and by doing so, to become the youngest Maori PhD Architect in the world.”
“I’m looking forward to that journey and I hope the ripples from that will inspire any kid with a dream. I’m the Youth Representative for NorthTec and I’m in the process of organizing a Youth Summit. This is my work. If people want to move forward, I’ll help you with your aspiration.”
“It’s years since I’ve studied and I didn’t do that well at school, but because I’m interested in architecture my...
Owen is making a career shift from radiology to architecture, as well as a recent regional shift from Taranaki to Northland.
“After having our first baby it was time to move closer to family up here and I was ready to rethink my career options. I was looking at nursing but realised it’s not quite me, and I’ve had an interest in drawing houses and house plans since I was young. A friend had also done this programme and recommended it.”
“There is such a range of options in where this course can lead - from design, to project managing, to council building inspection or to working in geo-tech. My main interest is in design so I’m loving using the CAD technology, but I’m also enjoying learning about materials and construction, plus how the environment affects a building and vice-versa.”
Owen is still working part-time in radiology so balancing study with both work and family is challenging.
“It’s years since I’ve studied and I didn’t do that well at school, but because I’m interested in architecture my marks and motivation are good and I’m keeping up with the deadlines. It was challenging at first but there are other mature students in the class so we support each other and the smaller class means we get more time with the tutors.”
“There are lots of advantages in making this career shift. I’ll be working in a field I enjoy, I can earn a better income, we can do quite a bit of work away from an office so the hours are more flexible, and I could end up with my own business. I’d like to work with an architect or designer for a couple of years to get some experience, and then later maybe have my own design business. I like that the design world is always developing.”
“The best aspect for me is that the whole industry is so broad with lots of potential work options."
Sihua is transitioning from a background in hospitality to a new career in architecture. “I’ve been a café manager in the Town Basin for seven years but the work hours meant my husband and I were hardly seeing each other. He works as an architectural draughtsman Monday to Friday whereas in hospitality we’re often working weekends.”
“I was also ready for a change and because I’m good at maths, I was wondering about accounting or architecture. I’m interested in drawing and my husband was encouraging me towards architecture - and did his training in this same course - so I signed up and I’m really enjoying it.”
“The best aspect for me is that the whole industry is so broad with lots of potential work options. The study here though is full-on so I had to give up my part-time café work but may be able to pick it up again in the holidays. Because I don’t have a building background, I found the technical building language a challenge at first but my tutors, my husband, and some of the students with building experience helped me through that.”
“I’m really looking forward to getting into a career with more family friendly hours and better earning potential, and when I finish the course I hope to get a job to gain some experience. Later I may go on to get an architecture degree in Auckland, and the long term dream is for my husband and me to have an architectural design business where I specialise in domestic design while he focuses on commercial design.”