There’s an element of walking the talk to Jane Mana’s Civil Trades certification journey.
After feeling like she didn’t make good use of her time at school, she’s always strongly encouraged her grandson to “study, study, study” and make the most of his education so he would have lots of choices about what he wanted to do. So, when Jane got home from night shift one particularly cold, wet morning and he turned to her and said “Nan, you should go study, so you don’t have to go work in the rain and the cold”, it sparked something.
Not long after that, she signed up for and completed her New Zealand Certificate in Infrastructure Works, Pipeline & Construction Level 2, and then Level 3 – an achievement that saw her recognised as a finalist for the 2022 Civil Contractors New Zealand Z Personal Improvement Award.
It would’ve been easy to stop there, but she then went on to complete her Level 4, which paved the way for her recent Civil Trades certification in Pipeline Construction & Maintenance with endorsements in Trenchless, Wastewater and Stormwater, and Drinking Water.
The certification is the culmination of 22 years in the industry, 21 with Auckland-based civil construction and engineering firm Pipeline & Civil.
“I’d been doing a building apprenticeship but took some time out. When I was ready to get back into it, I walked into Allied Workforce and asked if they had any building jobs. It was tough for building back then so they said, “There’s a job out on the roads, why don’t you give that a go?”.
“I had never worked on the road before and when I started, it was on traffic management. I watched the boys on the civil side – watched how they planned and what they were doing – and thought ‘I can do that’.”
Jane had previous work experience in production and supervisory roles, which she says meant she knew about the challenges, what was expected of her, how to get the best from staff and improve productivity.
“I just used to get involved and as the weeks went on, they enjoyed having me there and they called me back every day. I said to the boss, ‘I can do this job’, ‘I can do that job’, and they said maybe one day we’ll give you a go at it, and then they did.”
Asked if her qualifications and certification have been helpful for her work, her answer is a simple “Hell yes, man”.
“I got to understand a lot more of the theory. As I did the study, I could read about something and relate it to my work.
“Without the knowledge or the theory behind it, your hands-on experience will not get you any further, and no one will ever know what you’ve done. That was my biggest reason to push myself.”
She’s also encouraged some of the other members of her team to consider Civil Trades training and certification.
“I’ve said I’ll help them with it. It’s part of our career pathway at Pipeline & Civil and to get promoted you’ve got to have all the training done.”
For Jane, her qualifications and Civil Trades certification have also been a way to recognise all the hard work she’s put in over the years, as well as to honour the people at Pipeline & Civil who she says took a chance on her and gave her the opportunity to prove herself.
“I’m a Certified Civil Tradesperson now. It’s given me a whole lot of pride and confidence.
“I owed it to the people who took a chance on me, who never gave up on me. I wanted to prove to them that I’ve made the most of the opportunity they gave me.”
But, have her qualifications and Civil Trades certification brought her in out of the rain and the cold?
“I’m still out in the field. I don’t want to give that part up yet.
“The team is excellent ... If you can have a bond like that at work, everything else will fall in place – safety, openness, honesty. It’s like my family, my home away from home. That’s what makes me happy.”
About Civil Trades certification
Civil Trades certification provides professional recognition of your competence and helps you take the next step in your career. It provides evidence of a person’s expertise as a civil tradesperson and demonstrates to managers – and the world – that they have a high degree of practical experience.
Developed by industry, Civil Trades certification is open to anybody who has completed a Civil Infrastructure Level 4 qualification and has 8,000 hours (around four years) of practical experience. Certification and job-specific endorsement can be gained in any of the following areas:
- Road Construction and Maintenance
- Road Surfacing
- Pipeline Construction and Maintenance
Want to apply? Find out more on our 'Applying for Civil Trades certification' page.