When Josh Paku decided his career options needed a change, what proved to be a very significant door opened in his home town.
Napier born, Wairoa raised, Josh spent a year at Victoria University studying business as a 20-year-old before deciding it wasn’t for him. He returned to Napier in need of a job – and Higgins Contractors took him on for what turned into a three-year stint.
He then spent two-and- a-half years in Perth, before he and his partner decided that, with a baby on board, it was time to return home to Hawke’s Bay.
Higgins, and branch manager Joe Tobeck, took him on again.
“I spent about half a year back in the field before I was given the opportunity to study. I guess Joe saw a bit of potential in me… it all lead me to where I am now as the surfacing manager for Higgins Hawke’s Bay,” he says.
For the last three and a half years, Higgins has assisted Josh in his studies at NZIHT – to the point that he completed his NZ Diploma in Civil Engineering in June last year and graduated in May. He is now considering studying for a degree in Civil Engineering.
Apart from being surfacing manager for Higgins Hawke’s Bay, he is also Hawke’s Bay NOC (Networks Outcome Contract) Delivery manager for the surface and pavement maintenance of the highways.
“My job now involves planning, organising, estimating and implementing all asphalt, chip sealing, slurry and other various jobs. I am also the asphalt plant manager for Higgins.”
He says his experience at NZIHT, which involved up to 10 hours study each week, was a very positive one.
“I thought that the courses were very well set up. For each paper, there were on average two block courses either in Hamilton or Palmerston North consisting of two to three days study.
“The block courses were quite intense with having to cram all the information learned from the block, although tutors were very helpful which helped with absorbing loads of information. A lot of it was self-learning where I would put in a minimum of 9-10 study hours per week after hours at home.
“Completing the diploma gave me an insight not only into road construction but also the whole civil industry.
“I believe there are huge rewards to be attained, especially as a contractor and the opportunities are endless in regards to future progression and branching out into different sectors of the business.”
Josh aspires to a more senior role at Higgins and 10-20 years “down the track” to have his own business.
He says completing farm work activities and spending time with his parents helped build the foundations of his life – his daughter is now five, and he is engaged to his partner.