Foster Construction plays a significant role in the growth of Hamilton City, with more than $150 million a year in construction project work.
In fact, the multi-award-winning company has been around for more than 50 years and is behind some of the city’s most iconic buildings.
Fosters are as serious about building great careers for young people as about creating quality landmarks that stand the test of time. This strong commitment to training sees highly skilled construction teams on all sites with 30+ apprentices learning the ropes from the best in the sector.
FutureForce® caught up with former Fraser High School student Hamish Kennedy to find out more about life as a Carpentry Apprentice at Foster Construction…
Top Career Tip
“To respect the grind, and trust the process.”
A Chat with Hamish about his role
Former Fraser High School Student
How did you get this job?
I did a pre-trade course at Wintec for a year after school. Halfway through my first year at Wintec we did half a week of work experience. I’d heard good things about Fosters, so I applied and got in.
What got you interested in this career path?
I’ve had a curiosity for things like building and working with my hands since I was young. University wasn’t really a path I wanted to go down. I thought I’d take this pathway first where I can start with working on the tools. Then there’s always an opportunity to work my way up later.
What do you do day-to-day?
It can start from the earthworks – we get into concrete first, and then our skills grow into timber framing, structural steel, finishing lines and much more. There’s quite a wide scope to what we do.
What do you love about your job?
The satisfaction at the end of a build. Driving past a building and knowing you took part in the build process of it. We do quite large buildings, so it’s amazing to show people. I’ve done the good old “my company’s building that” a few times now when driving past projects!
What challenges have you had to overcome?
Starting out as an apprentice, you can be sweeping floors most of the time. Because Fosters is commercial the floors being swept are quite big – this was a challenge. Trusting the process and understanding that this is a stepping-stone to working your way up helped me to overcome this. Sweeping will also always be essential as later on you’ll need to clean your areas up. The weather also can be a challenge as we work through rain, hail or shine.
What sort of person do you need to be for this work?
- Patience is important. You’ve got to understand that there is a process to everything
- Good time-management
- Good communication skills
- Good people skills. You’re dealing with a wide range of people so being able to communicate and read people is a big one.
- Adaptability to change
What do you wish you knew when you left school?
To trust the process. You’re not going to be building houses or framing straight off the bat. You start by handing the builder the tools or by sweeping the floor. You watch it all a lot before you get started. Also, I did want to go to university for quite some time but realising there are other pathways is good to know.
Where would you like to go with your career?
Working my way up into management roles. Being on the tools is a stepping-stone and it works its way up into bigger and better things.
We asked Hamish a few more questions about working at FOSTERS…
What advice do you have for keeping balanced/managing stress?
Even just focusing on work/life balance is good. Being able to say no and having boundaries is important. Having hobbies outside of work that you can stick to is important too.
I quite like going surfing on the weekends, and I’m a lifeguard out in Raglan. It’s quite a good summertime release. I like to keep up with my general fitness outside of work too.
What advice would you give someone looking at this type of work?
Respect the grind. When you are starting out look for a company with a good culture. This makes work a lot more manageable. At Fosters we have a good community focus and value. Within work itself it’s being able to have people who know your name, take the time to teach you things and mentor you, and so on.
What do you like most about working at Foster Construction?
The community and culture focus. The ability to upskill from within. There are quite clear pathways and you can see Foster’s intentions with each of their employees.
Work with Fosters
Fosters is currently training 30+ apprentices, continuing a tradition that’s been in place for the last 50 years. Former apprentices are now in leadership positions at Fosters, others are owners of their own construction companies, while others have moved onto a variety of construction roles around the world.
Fosters’ deep connections throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty regions mean that you’ll have the opportunity to work on some of the best builds in the business!