Occupation no longer a secret
Naomi Afoa, from Newtown, was not very impressed by her earlier career but now that she has a carpentry apprenticeship
and has just won a scholarship for her studies, her future is looking bright.
Pat Bird from the New Zealand Federation of Women Graduates presented the scholarship to Naomi. "It's exciting to be
giving this scholarship to a woman to study something that women don't usually do," says Mrs Bird.
WelTec's Head of Centre for Industry and Trade Technolgy, Andrew Batt says that the goals of the Federation are to
promote lifelong education and assist graduate women to effect change. "Naomi will certainly be effecting change in the
construction industry," says Andrew. I congratulate her for having the gumption. She will be a leader in the field."
But for eighteen months Naomi didn't tell her parents what she was doing.
"When I was younger I always liked men's jobs," says Naomi. "But because of Samoan culture it wouldn't have been
appropriate when I was younger and living at home. But I did tell them and they were all right with it."
She started with a pre-trade carpentry course at WelTec and then became an apprentice at Trademark Construction Ltd.
Boss John Hastie admires her determination. "She certainly has 'intestinal stamina'," says John. "She's diligent and has
a 100% positive attitude. She's going to make a quality carpenter. Being male or female shouldn't make any difference.
The guys are accepting and treat her with respect, but no differently from the others. She doesn't hang back from the
hard work either."
Naomi loves her work. "I like putting it all together," says Noami. "Seeing the whole house come together from scratch."
Naomi was overwhelmed to receive a scholarship and sees it as a "privilege". She thanked her tutors, her employers and
her son Logan.
"I had never achieved any [qualifications] I tried before but this is the best course I ever did - the only one I've
Naomi is WelTec's first woman carpentry apprentice, but there are three others following close behind.
The Federation of Graduate Women has confirmed that the scholarship will now be offered annually.
For more information on scholarships and trade options at WelTec go to www.weltec.ac.nz or call 0800 935 832