Alumni finds magic in career change

June 5, 2024

Changing career lanes takes guts, but as Keystone Trust alumni and 2019 Study Award recipient Kamal McEntee-Amziane discovered, magic happens when you lean on your network and take a risk.

“I continue to be so grateful for my place in the network because if it wasn’t for the trust taking a chance on me, I don’t think I would be in the excellent position I am now. The trust has given me confidence, guidance, and financial and professional support, and it continues to be where I find help and connection long after my scholarship ended.”

The Onehunga High School graduate has always been focused on the ‘big picture’, looking to the property and construction sector as a future-proofed industry that promises no two days the same.

At 18, Kamal was enrolling at the University of Auckland for a Bachelor of Property degree combined with a Bachelor of Business, confident that this qualification was the perfect fit for his future aspirations.

“I know that I want to be involved with property, probably Project Management. I think a conjoint degree will increase my understanding of general business. I also like problem-solving and want to ensure I do something that involves being onsite and active where possible.

“New Zealand is in the middle of a building boom. I believe there will be a need for experts in the property industry for many years to come, and I think this choice of degree is a good long-term opportunity option,” he wrote in 2018 on his Keystone Trust scholarship application form.

Fast-forward a few years, Kamal has journeyed from a challenging start in real estate and is now working towards his second year of a post-graduate diploma in Facilities Management at Massey University.

The discipline is growing across New Zealand and provides professional management services focused on efficiently delivering logistics and other property and built environment support.

“Kamal’s career trajectory is so interesting because the property and construction sectors continually evolve to meet trends and growing demand. This change opens the door to new opportunities, like the facilities management sector, which has seen a significant increase in demand for services, establishing it as a bona fide career option in New Zealand in recent years,” says Amanda Stanes, Keystone Trust General Manager.

Ms Stanes was instrumental in supporting Kamal through his career pivot, connecting him with Jo Duggan, Facilities Management Association of New Zealand (FMANZ) Chief Executive Officer, and Henry Arundel, Programmed Maintenance General manager, which is a Keystone Trust sponsorship partner and the country’s leading provider of staffing, facility management and maintenance services.

While completing his postgraduate diploma, Kamal enjoyed a variety of work experiences alongside the Programmed Maintenance team, which he says offered valuable insight into the workings of facilities management as a sector.

Today, he continues to enjoy this experience and is currently cutting his teeth as a maintenance coordinator on large-scale projects for the business, including Kiwi Rail and Chorus contracts.

“The more I learnt, the more I found the sector incorporated a range of disciplines, with the opportunity to pursue everything from property management and sales through managing large contracts, often with government agencies,” he says.

“I can clearly see how getting out into the field and participating in the labour side of the equation, learning from the ground up what the business does – managing timeframes, machinery, people – is directly applicable as I look to the pointier end of this practical work.”

Reflecting on his journey, Kamal offers advice to his 18-year-old self and others at career crossroads: “Don’t be afraid to take a risk, keep an open mind, leverage your networks, and say ‘yes’ to opportunities.” 

“It was a chance conversation with Amanda and the Keystone whānau that led me to this career change, and now I am working in such a vibrant and exciting property discipline that is exciting and new every day.

“I continue to be so grateful for my place in the network because if it wasn’t for the trust taking a chance on me, I don’t think I would be in the excellent position I am now. The trust has given me confidence, guidance, and financial and professional support, and it continues to be where I find help and connection long after my scholarship ended.” 

For further media enquiries, please contact

Amanda Stanes
Keystone Trust – General Manager
M: 021 689 380
E: amanda@keystonetrust.org.nz 

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