Sikandar Hirani enrolled in the New Zealand Diploma in Construction (Quantity Surveying) to gain technical knowledge and grow professionally.
He works for Auckland Council as a Regulatory Support Officer, processing building consents for the southern region.
“I always wanted to specialise in a given field. After joining Council, I realised my passion and strength lies in residential and commercial building,” he says.
Sikandar is one of a group of domestic students studying construction alongside internationals at Otago Polytechnic’s Auckland International Campus in partnership with Future Skills Academy.
He says he enrolled in the programme to gain technical knowledge of construction process and management, and to gain a recognised qualification.
“The combination of theoretical study from class and applying those concepts and principles in my current role is assisting me in developing an understanding of the wider consenting functions.”
Sikandar says construction qualifications are in huge demand throughout New Zealand and across the world with an average salary high compared to other industries.
He’s enjoying the programme, which he’s currently studying online due to COVID-19 restrictions. That’s working well as he likes being digitally connected with classmates through online learning activities.
Sikandar recommends the programme to both domestic and international students.
He says lecturers are experienced and both academic and support staff take a genuine interest in student wellbeing and implement feedback from students.
“Anyone who is already in the construction industry or has a passion and desire to learn about the practices should enrol,” he says.
It’s also suitable for those with an engineering background and high school graduates with building mindsets.
A long history with OPAIC
Sikandar has a long history with OPAIC, beginning in 2013 when he studied the Graduate Diploma in Applied Management here as an international student.
After completing a bachelor’s degree in Singapore he wanted to come to New Zealand, which he’d pictured as a “mini heaven on earth”.
“When I thought of New Zealand, the first few things that came to my mind were mountains, lakes, rivers, forests,” he says.
“After coming here, I was very delighted to see how the locals accepted people from around the world, showed respect with inclusive work culture and ethics.”
He picked Otago Polytechnic because his research showed it was one of the oldest education providers in New Zealand and had transformed over the years.
“The institution demonstrated its agility, adapted to the changing society and incorporated best practices,” he says.
“Most lecturers recruited to teach here have PhDs and research backgrounds that gave me confidence in the teaching faculty, in addition the student success and satisfaction rate were high.”
Its Category 1 rating gave him confidence that his qualifications would be recognised nationally and internationally.
He says OPAIC has international students from all over the world and a unique campus life. It celebrates cultural festivals, holds sports tournaments, and offers day trips.
Sikandar was the first student to receive a Top Achievers Award here for outstanding performance in both academic and campus involvement.
After his graduate diploma he worked at OPAIC in various roles until 2018. He also went on to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Management here.
Since then he has worked as an Enrolment and Information Advisor at Wintec and as a Support Officer at Immigration New Zealand.
To keep a bridge between education and practicum, he is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Auckland University of Technology on top of his construction qualification.