Alanah Eriksen

Alanah Eriksen is the New Zealand Herald's property reporter, and assistant chief reporter.

Skills Crisis: Engineer relishes variety and getting out of the office

Anneliese Sabrowski maintains Auckland's motorway network. Photo / Kellie Blizard
Anneliese Sabrowski maintains Auckland's motorway network. Photo / Kellie Blizard

Anneliese Sabrowski doesn't believe she'll ever struggle for work.

The 26-year-old is bucking the trend in an industry which is not only lacking skilled workers, but female workers.

The engineering graduate was hired straight out of university on a joint, three-year rotational programme between Fulton Hogan, Manukau City Council and the GHD consulting company.

She was still able to complete her masters in civil engineering with Unitec which she finished last year.

Miss Sabrowski decided on the career path after attending a careers day at Unitec.

She was part of the university's recruitment campaign this year which used the phrase, "We make the people who make it'. It celebrates the work of skilled students who have helped in major Auckland building projects, such as the Auckland Art Gallery, the Newmarket Viaduct and the ASB North Wharf building.

One of Miss Sabrowski's first projects was helping to design a new entrance way into the Sylvia Park shopping centre.

"I love the variety and the fact that I get to spend a lot of time out and about, I'm not only in an office. My time is spent about 60-40 - being in an office versus getting to drive around and look at things and working with crews out on site."

The internship has led to a fulltime position and Miss Sabrowski now maintains Auckland's motorway network under the New Zealand Transport Agency. It involves inspections, graffiti removal, vegetation and signage.

"I think there's a lot of work out there and a big variety of work as well - that's the reason I chose what I'm doing. There's always another area you can go into. There's contracting, consulting or working for local authorities."

She said working in a male-dominated industry had not been a disadvantage.

"At uni, I was one of two girls for most of the papers and then when I started work, there was one older lady and another one a little bit older than me. But I enjoy it. The guys are really good, once they get to know you. When you're out in the rain and the mud, they're nice to you, they look out for you."

- NZ Herald

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