Building the foundation for success 

Gareth Jeune

As a project and safety Coordinator at Wellington International Airport, Gareth Jeune is instrumental in liaising between the main contractor and the operating airport on multi-million dollar construction projects.

Learning on the job

Gareth explains that the role places a huge focus on understanding the fundamentals of construction and collaborating with many stakeholders to plan, manage and complete works safely and deliver a quality product, many of which are skills that he was able to hone during his studies with the Open Polytechnic.

Wanting to further his previous qualification as a builder and lead into management because of his love for people, Gareth enrolled in the Open Polytechnic’s National Diploma in Construction Management. “I wanted to continue to learn more of an industry that I found extremely interesting, it was also a logical extension from the previous study I had done,” says Gareth.

Study fitted around work

He chose the Open Polytechnic, New Zealand’s largest provider of distance learning, because the qualification had been highly recommended to him, and the flexibility of studying by distance allowed him to continue to work full time while simultaneously earning his qualification.

“It tied into the busy lifestyle that working in construction can create. Not every week is nicely packaged into 44 hours, so it was nice to balance what was happening at work and also in my personal life.”

In addition to being able to study when and where it suited him, Gareth credits the diploma itself with helping him cement his understanding of the construction process and to expand on his past experience.

“I do believe studying has fast tracked my credibility in the industry, enabling me to hold my own with vastly experienced contractors under my control,” Gareth explains.

Opening doors

“Studying is a wonderful commitment to make, people often sit on the fence and think about the down sides of study…but I think it is important to think of what doors the study can open, even during the qualification. People recognise the commitment you are making and will see the development take place, often they will come on board and support you too. I always remember when I first started, my site manager above me was just as interested in what I was studying as me! Share the experience with your manager and colleagues, you will be surprised how beneficial this can be,” says Gareth.

It certainly has been a busy year for Gareth. Aside from helping to manage an over 60 million dollar construction project, he won the New Zealand Institute of Building Student Chapter Award for Best in Diploma. Gareth attributes much of his success to always looking forward and setting clearly defined, realistic goals for himself that he pulls from the principles of construction.

Gareth's study advice

He recommends planning the scope of what was to be done, consider the resource (time available) and then identify any constraints (such as sport or social commitments), then moving onto to executing the plan, collaborate with those you work with or industry bodies (NZIOB) and staying disciplined.

“For me it was about making sure I celebrated the milestones - first assessment completed, first unit completed, gaining my first 100%, then completing my first year. It’s about setting the goals and recognising along the journey as well that I was getting them…It’s about celebrating the journey.”

I do believe studying has fast tracked my credibility in the industry, enabling me to hold my own with vastly experienced contractors under my control.