Student Stories

“My goal is to help lead to a more sustainable built environment for New Zealand”

Naomi

Student

Why did you decide to take up qualifications in the property sector?

Growing up immersed in the accelerating growth of urbanization here in New Zealand, and the expansion of urban space, led me to identifying the high demand for construction professionals. Thus, having looked at the needs in the property sector I decided to focus my attention on following a path into this sector, and taking advantage of the stability and opportunities it provides.

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

The networking opportunities available through Keystone have allowed me to be active and get noticed, by getting my name out there in the industry. This has also allowed me to get to know some of the leaders of the industry on a personal level.

Read more about Naomi...

What do you think is the key difference of a Keystone Scholarship?

The key difference of a Keystone Scholarship is the support and contacts available. This is especially evident through the networking opportunities which provide us with a great source of connections, and really opens the doors, allowing us to talk to highly influential people in the industry. I have found that this has been critical to my personal growth and career development and learnt that in this era of vast competition in the workplace, networking has become an essential tool in gaining connections and employment.

What have been the highlights of your time with us so far?

The highlights for me have been centered on the exposure to the realities of the industry through the site visits, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. My favorite site visit was the Waterview Tunnel where we were given an exclusive sneak peek into the way this large scale project has been undertaken.

How have you connected with our sponsor family?

Connecting with the sponsor family has allowed me to gain valuable direction in my studies and career path, and also allowed me to secure employment. Early in the year I was invited for a coffee catchup with the industry director for AECOM where I was given advice on my studies and career prospects. Getting my name out there with our sponsor family has also led me to securing a summer internship with Fletcher Building and Interiors- the biggest construction firm in New Zealand.

Tell me about the buddy programme and wingman programme?

For me, the buddy and wingman programme has proven that mentors are a valuable source of information and assistance during university. I am fortunate enough to be buddied with a current construction student as well as a wingman who is an ex construction student working in the industry. We keep in touch regularly and I enjoy sharing my experiences with them.

Where do you think your qualifications might take you?

I think my qualifications will lead me to professional accreditation, which will allow me to work on large scale construction projects in a leading role. My goals are to help lead to a more sustainable built environment for New Zealand, while becoming an expert and a leader in sustainable construction practices.

What would you say to other students thinking of applying for a Keystone scholarship?

Now more than ever, it’s important to build a solid network in order to open yourself to a wide array of career opportunities. By applying for a Keystone scholarship you are setting yourself up to gain contacts with the leaders in the property and construction industry, giving you a network of friends and associates to draw energy from and keep you going during your university studies and throughout your career.

“I have always had a passion for watching and learning about the way buildings came together”

Ben

Student

Why did you decide to take up qualifications in the property sector?

My father was a cabinet and window maker, so I grew up playing in the sawdust that had accumulated on the floor of his workshop. Through this I learnt a lot of practical skills and became very naturally skilled with my hands. I was constantly creating sculptures from the waste off cuts and would often design and build miniature houses. As I grew bigger so did my dreams and designs from small residential buildings to giant skyscrapers and landmarks. Since then I have always had a passion for watching and learning about the way buildings came together. By studying the Bachelor of Construction I hope to eventually be part of a project which is as large in scale and recognition as structures like; the Sydney Opera house, the Eiffel tower or the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

Through Keystone I was able to make connections within the industry. I have been working as an intern for Arrow International, one of the Keystone sponsors, since March. It has given me insight into how sites work how the structure comes together in a practical environment, which has been great as what I learn in class at Unitec I am able to see and experience in the real world which further reinforces the knowledge that I am acquiring from my lecturers.

Read more about Ben...

What do you think the key difference of a Keystone Scholarship?

There are few scholarships out there which are as well connected within the industry. I think this is what makes the Keystone Trust stand out. This means that being a Keystone Student provides me with a huge advantage over my class mates, who have not had the opportunity to meet and network with people in the construction industry.

What have been your highlights of your time with us so far?

I enjoyed the networking evenings and awards nights. It’s always great to meet new people and catch up with people that I’ve met at previous functions. It’s always good to reconnect with the other Keystone students.

How have you connected with our sponsor family?

I have connected with the sponsor Arrow International in particular. I have been working part time as an intern since March. I have been able to work closely with one of the senior quantity surveyors who is teaching me what a quantity surveyors role is within a project.

Tell me about the buddy programme and wingman programme?

The buddy and wingman programme has been great! My Keystone buddy Jamie Leach has been a huge help as she is always happy to assist me with any coursework that I am struggling with. My wingman Tamati Parker was the one who helped set up a job for me at Arrow international, I am very grateful for this as I feel I have opportunity to gain a lot of knowledge and experience through the company.

Where do you think your qualifications might take you?

I believe that the Bachelor of Construction will provide a good foundation which could lead me into a variety of jobs within the construction industry. I hope in the future this qualification will lead to me working on large scale projects that are iconic on a global scale.

What would you say to any students thinking about applying for a scholarship?

There’s no other scholarships like a Keystone Scholarship! The benefits received through the Trust are immense. It’s a real privilege to be a part of. So give it a go and apply!

“I personally believe there is no other scholarship out there that is like Keystone”

Ryan

Student

Why did you decide to take up qualifications in the property sector?

I originally lived in Kaiapoi (Christchurch), which was one of the worst hit areas by the earthquakes. After seeing the destruction caused I decided that I wanted to be part of the cleanup and rejuvenation that is currently happening in the city. I also saw surveying as a small but very important industry, with plenty of growth capability.

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

Keystone has made a huge difference to my transition into tertiary education. Personally I have received two other scholarships, but I found that the money is not necessarily the most important aspect of a scholarship; its the support network. With the Keystone Study Award it not only provided me with a huge amount of money to aid my studies every year, but also provided me with so many opportunities both through meeting others like me and meeting some very important and influential people in the property industry.

Read more about Ryan...

What do you think is the key difference of a Keystone Scholarship?

The key difference of a Keystone Scholarship is definitely the support and opportunities that are provided. That and the regular, helpful contact from Victoria, Hayley, the other Keystone students and all the people you meet. There are awesome events held regularly, plenty of contacts to make and heaps of opportunities for both study and jobs.

What have been the highlights of your time with us so far?

The highlights for me so far have been what I think are the most important events in my recent life:

  • The Annual Keystone Awards Evening
  • The trip to the new library in Devonport
  • The site visit to the Justice Precinct in which I was not only able to see the largest project in Oceania but also see surveying in a construction scenario.

How have you connected with our sponsor family?

I have connected with the Keystone family through the networking events, receiving business cards that I can use to get a head-start into the industry as well as receive future work opportunities.

Tell me about the buddy programme and wingman programme?

The buddy and wingman program have been quite important to my entry into the Keystone family, with support from Josh Leckie (Mentor/Wingman) and Mitch Braun (Buddy). They have helped me at networking events, through introducing me to many important: construction, architecture, real estate and engineering company members. They are also there if I need any help with studies or just life at university. This is very appreciated at stressful times in the semester.

Where do you think your qualifications might take you?

I believe that with a surveying degree at the University of Otago, I will be able to go anywhere in the world. Currently many countries have very few surveyors and they are in demand. Being a growth industry with construction it is a huge help. Development in all the major cities across New Zealand is occurring and I am sure that I will be able to make my mark over the next few years.

What would you say to other students thinking of applying for a scholarship?

To any other students applying for a scholarship with Keystone, I say you’ve made a great choice and good luck! The amount of support they offer with not only money but also experience and contacts is huge. I personally believe there is no other scholarship out there that is like this one. Its been a huge help to me personally and I’m having a fantastic university experience because of them. If you’re like me and you are currently thinking that ‘I won’t get it, there is no point applying’, just do it because you have nothing to lose but everything to gain, honestly it has been such an amazing experience that I would recommend it to anyone!

“There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by becoming a part of the Keystone family.”

Alysha

Student

Why did you decide to take up qualifications in the property sector?

For me, the field of Architecture was appealing as it combined my loves for problem solving and art. Graphics was easily my favourite subject at secondary school, and after spending a year at Victoria University working on a course which introduced to me in more depth what the title of ‘an architect’ involved, my decision to work within this field and this sector has only been positively reinforced.

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

The difference that the Keystone Study Award has meant for me has been the opportunity to connect with professionals who are already working in the field, and understand that there are differences between the classroom and the real world. While my lecturers tried to allude to this in class, only the site visits run by Keystone and the conversations with the professionals on site have allowed me to fully comprehend and understand that plans can change and things won’t always work out quite the way we plan them to. Understanding this happens and being able to acknowledge that it happens I feel has meant I have a more realistic expectation of what my future career path actually involves.

Read more about Alysha...

What do you think is the key difference of a Keystone Scholarship?

I feel the key difference of a Keystone Scholarship is that it means you are constantly being approached and talked to by someone. The connections and networking opportunities that a Keystone Scholarship provides are really quite astounding. I recall that in this first year, not only was I having conversations with peers and students about the scholarship I had received, but I was being sought out and approached by industry leaders who wanted to talk with me about the scholarship and what it had meant for me so far. And that feeling of professionals wanting to talk to you and physically seeking you out because of it, is really amazing, and gives you the confidence and ambition to work hard and achieve above your goals.

What have been the highlights of your time with us so far?

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the Wellington networking evening that was earlier this year. It was a really exciting experience to talk to professionals within the property sector and hear about their stories, opinions, and projects. It was also equally exciting to be asked about my thoughts and my study. Having that opportunity to converse and develop a greater understanding of how each discipline within the property sector functions alongside one another has been so enlightening and beneficial to my understanding of what my job is and will be in the future as an architect.

How have you connected with our sponsor family?

The site visits have been my most direct connection with our sponsor family, and I see it as a real privilege to be allowed on site and see the inner workings of how exactly our sponsors operate. Having the opportunity to talk to our sponsors and question how exactly they have done something and why they decided to do it that way, has been an intriguing experience.

Tell me about the buddy programme and wingman programme?

The support programmes at Keystone are amazing and really allow you to feel like you are in a family. My buddy Bonnie and my wingman Carrinya have been really helpful this year, especially in helping me adjust to life at Victoria University. They have both been so nice to me and patient as I asked any questions I had throughout the year, and were very helpful with their answers. In particular, the highlight of the year for me with these two was that I felt so proud to have them as my friends and support at our Wellington networking evening, where they represented themselves really well, and also ensured I was managing to meet the professionals at this event which was a relatively new experience to me.

Where do you think your qualifications might take you?

While I still have a few years to go before finishing up in the classroom and knowing for certain where I will end up, I believe that I would ultimately like to end up in the residential development side of architecture. I believe that I would thoroughly enjoy creating a personal home for people to live and laugh in, as well as enabling connections and friendships within neighbourhoods and communities. I have always had an interest in the business side of things as well and have a strong ambition to one day be practicing under my own name.

What would you say to other students thinking of applying for a scholarship?

I would definitely say do it, with no hesitation. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by becoming a part of the Keystone family. The opportunities you are provided with are really invaluable in creating a career for yourself of which you are proud and happy with.

“The buddy and wingman programme has been one of the best things Keystone has offered”

Olivia

Student

Why did you decide to take up qualifications in the property sector?

I grew up in an environment where many family and friends had careers in the property sector and it was from this that my passion for the industry grew. I was also aware of the vast population growth here in New Zealand so knew the property sector would provide plenty challenging but exciting jobs.

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

The Keystone Study award has enabled me to already be so much more ahead of my peers. In my first year I have already obtained a part time job gaining experience at Bayleys, I’ve met many inspiring property professionals from a range of high profile companies and I’ve been able to create connections with other students in my course that I would’ve otherwise never of met.

Read more about Olivia...

What do you think is the key difference of a Keystone Scholarship?

Although the financial support has been great, the most valuable part for me being in the Keystone family is the connections I’ve been able to make, the networking events I’ve attended and the educational site visits I’ve gone too. Keystone has provided me with a huge insight as to what my future will hold and has introduced me to some of the most successful and inspiring professionals in the property sector.

What have been the highlights of your time with us so far?

The highlights for me would be the site visits that I’ve been able to attend. In particular I really enjoyed the Precinct property presentation on their new Commercial Bay development, it was really exciting seeing the process they’ve been through just to get it to the early demolition stage it is at now.

How have you connected with our sponsor family?

I have connected with the sponsors Bayleys in particular where I have been lucky to secure a part time job. I have been able to learn lots about the agency side of the property sector, which I’ve taken a liking too and could imagine myself pursuing a career in the field. It’s also allowed me to meet many agents and managers in their office.

Tell me about the buddy programme and wingman programme?

The buddy and wingman programme has been one of the best things Keystone has offered. My wingman, Simone, is a senior project manager at TBIG, she is always available to catch up and offer any advice I may need. She took me on a tour through her office in the city and introduced me to many of her colleagues. My buddy James has been so helpful through my first year at University. We catch up regularly at Uni to discuss anything I’m finding difficult and he always offers advice and solutions to my problems. James has gone beyond the call of duty in insuring my first year runs smoothly and I feel really grateful for all he has done to make my first year a good one.

Where do you think your qualifications might take you?

I believe the BProp/BCom conjoint will be able to take me to a vast range of careers. From working part time at Bayleys I could see myself getting into agency, but I know that my qualifications will allow me to have flexibility and will provide a solid foundation for any job within the property sector.

What would you say to other students thinking of applying for a scholarship?

I personally doubted myself when applying as I didn’t think I would get it but in hindsight I am so glad I did apply as there is no scholarship quite like the Keystone Awards, it really is second to none. The opportunities that I’ve had and the connections I have made are invaluable. I encourage anyone considering applying to just do it, you have nothing to lose and absolutely everything to gain!

“The benefits of a Keystone Scholarship are unnumbered, it truly is an amazing opportunity.”

James

Student

Why did you decide to take up qualifications in the property sector?

Heading into Year 13 at school, I was unsure as to what career path I wanted to take. I thought property degree at Auckland University would only lead into Real Estate, but boy was I wrong. After exploring the many pathways upon completion of the degree, I knew this is where I wanted to end up, and have never looked back.

What difference has the Keystone Study Award made to you?

I definitely think I would have been overwhelmed with the transition between School and University, if it had not been for the support of the Keystone family, particularly my buddy, who really helped me settle into University.

Read more about James...

What do you think is the key difference of a Keystone Scholarship?

Keystone do not just dump some money into our bank accounts and run, they provide students with the skills and resources to really succeed in the Property Industry and really look after me, and push me to achieve the best that I can. While the money is extremely helpful, it is the extras, like the wingman, the buddy and the networking that I have found most useful.

What have been the highlights of your time with us so far?

The site visits were definitely one of the highlights. We visited a variety of the sponsor’s ongoing projects and the finished buildings, such as the then incomplete New Lynn Mall and the contemporary ASB North Wharf. This provided a lot of practicality and application to the degree I am studying.

How have you connected with our sponsor family?
I have connected with the sponsors throughout the many Keystone events held throughout the year. I have meet some truly influential and successful professionals, who are at the very top of their areas, including CEO’s, General Manager’s, Directors, and many more. Through these connections, I have landed a job and learnt how the companies best operate.

Tell me about the buddy programme and wingman programme?

With the buddies, we are paired up with fellow students studying towards the same degree as we are, but a few years deeper into their degree. Buddies give tips on approaching University and the course content, all in all, making the transition to University an easier adjustment.  With the wingman, we are matched with a professional in the workforce (generally a Keystone Alumni), who has completed the same degree as us, and working in the area of the industry where we may want to end up. The wingman provides practicality to what I am studying as they illustrate where the knowledge learnt through my studies will be utilised, as well as sharing useful insights into the majors that will be most useful.

Where do you think your qualifications might take you?

At the moment, I have still yet to decide where exactly in the property industry I would like to go. However, Commercial Property Management and Development are both very attractive possibilities at this early stage.

What would you say to other students thinking of applying for a scholarship?

Whatever you do, make applying for the Keystone scholarships an absolute priority. The benefits are unnumbered; it truly is an amazing opportunity that cannot be missed.

Our sponsor family