Troy Jury left school at 15 to be a builder's labourer.

Now, at the age of 26, he has his own business, comprising himself, a fellow builder and co-director, plus one carpenter and one labourer.

There's plenty of work but the days are long. Work is spread across Auckland. Jury will be on site by seven every morning and won't finish before 5pm. After "family time" in the evening at the Remuera home he shares with his partner and their 18-month-old daughter Indi, he'll retire to his home office: invoicing and quoting for jobs. That will add another two hours to his work day.

"We're getting paid for eight or nine hours, but we probably do 14," says Jury of his company, Qualified Building Solutions. And he doesn't always charge for everything: pensioners get a discounted rate; Jury has done voluntary work for community organisations.


Sunday is not a day of rest: he is also studying for an international certificate in construction, so a large part of that day is study. The qualification will open doors to work overseas, as well as with larger construction companies locally.

Dr Paul Callister's description of men focusing first on their own kids is realistic: "My partner doesn't earn enough to support us," Jury says. "It's quite hard times for many people now and you've got to put your own hours in to put your family first."