Building great careers at Foster Construction…
At Foster Construction, building a great team is just as important as building quality landmarks throughout the Waikato.
Fosters has a strong commitment to people, and growing future leaders is a key part of being a sustainable construction company into the future.
The Foster Group, based in Hamilton, employs more than 200 people from labourers, carpenters and site managers, through to quantity surveyors, support staff and senior management.
The FutureForce® Team caught up with Natasha “Concrete Queen” Bach, Foster’s Apprentice Carpenter and former Melville High School student to find out more…
Top Career Tip
“What you do today impacts tomorrow.”
A Chat with Natasha about her role
Natasha “Concrete Queen” Bach
Former Melville High School Student
How did you get this job?
My Dad works for Fosters, so during the school holidays he said I could come to work with him and earn some ‘hard money.’ I was keen to do this. Then the boss here offered me an apprenticeship which I declined at first because I thought I should be at school. Then I ended up getting Level 2 early, left school, and have been doing this ever since!
What got you interested in this career path?
The large variety of tasks throughout the day keeps you intrigued. You don’t have to constantly do the same thing in this role so you can’t really get sick of it.
What do you do day-to-day?
Where can I even start!? It’s pretty much everything from the sand until when the buildings are completed. We are quite literally working from the foundations to the finished product. We build commercial, high-rises, warehouses, big industrial buildings, and so on – everything big!
What do you love about your job?
I really love the concreting process – I have a nickname around site – “Concrete Queen”. I managed to accidentally get good at concreting and when you get good at something, people often call on you to do it. This process can extend from just getting pre-mixed onsite concrete through to pre-cast panel units coming in on trucks, already formed concretes and so on. Shaping a liquid into a solid is not light work!
Having a strong work ethic is helpful too. You’ve got to want to do your role, and you can’t really hide behind anything. Being able to make decisions is important for this role as there will be times where you’ll have to make some split-second decisions and run with them.
What is your advice for other women looking to work in construction?
Being a woman in construction in general is a challenge, if you let it be one. It’s a very male-dominated industry but there are ways through that. Fosters caters to us as much as they can. Having an open-mind is important for this industry. My advice to other young women looking to pursue trades would be to stick it out. Don’t let what other people think or perceive stop you from achieving anything.
What do you wish you knew when you left school?
It’s not always sunshine and rainbows, take things a day at a time. Also I wish I took maths as being good with numbers is a good skill to have.
What do you wish you knew when you left school?
Give it a go! My old man always said this to me before starting here, and he’s right. Give it a go and who knows. Whatever you do, whether you succeed or whether you fail, you’ll be learning something.
What advice do you have for keeping balanced/managing stress?
When you leave work, leave it at the door. Once you shut that gate and get home it’s your home time. Focus on looking after yourself and your downtime.
Your whole life shouldn’t revolve only working, hobbies are also important to have outside of work. I trained a bit of MMA (mixed martial arts) and Brazilian jujitsu.
we asked NATASHA a few more questions about working at FOSTERS…
What are some useful school subjects?
- Maths – Algebra is helpful. All the “hard stuff”.
- Science (Chemistry) – You understand a lot of the principles in our role if you’ve studied science
- English – Project plans can go quite in depth so comprehension and understanding what’s going on is important.
- Workshop subjects – Not needed, but helpful.
What advice would you give someone looking at this type of work?
Don’t let anyone push you into anything. Only pursue something if you’re the one calling the shots. You’re not stuck to anything so if you’re unhappy with where you are, you can always change. It’s not fixed-term. Go in with an open-mind but also know when to draw the line.
What do you like most about working with Fosters?
The willingness and commitment Fosters’ has to cater to their employees. I joined the Health & Safety Committee for Women in Construction and everything I’ve suggested has been implemented without hesitation. They’re willing to go that extra mile.
Where would you like to go with your career?
I’d like to build my own house one day. Possibly go into a career where I can pass my knowledge on and teach others how to build. Be able to give someone else the opportunity.
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!