Aroha Marumaru hopes to be one of the 70 people working for Tauranga's new $400 million plasterboard manufacturing and distribution plant once it opens.
The 42-year-old mother of four and grandmother of two attended Fletcher Building's recruitment drive for its new Winstone Wallboards GIB factory in Tauriko this week.
More than 100 people turned up to the open day at Youth Central's new premise on 13th Ave to register their interest.
Fletcher last month confirmed only about 30 per cent of its Auckland staff will relocate to its state-of-the-art, supersized Tauriko site - leaving about 70 local jobs up for grabs.
The Tauranga development is expected to be a key factor in solving the country's Gib plasterboard shortage once it opens in 2023.
Marumaru has experience in construction and carpentry but wanted to upskill in order to land a job at Winstone Wallboards. Her dream job was to become a building manager.
"It's my turn," she said.
"Some people have said I am too old to do this course, but age is just a number."
She had applied for a training course with the Solomon Group - which offers free industry-related educational courses to support the Bay of Plenty. The group has campuses in Tauranga and Rotorua.
One day she hopes to use the skills she has learned to build her own home for her children in Tōrere near Ōpotiki.
"I want to give my children a homestead," she said. "It's time to buckle up."
Marumaru described herself as a hard-working, honest, reliable worker who is a fast learner.
"You have got to put the mahi in, no ifs or buts."
Kristian Hart was looking for a career change and hoped to also land a job at Winstone Wallboard's new facility.
The 47-year-old moved to New Zealand 14 months ago from Scotland with his wife and three-and-a-half-year-old son. His wife was studying to be a high school teacher and he was a bus driver.
"I am at a point now where I'm going, 'It's my turn'... "I am looking at every opportunity I can."
But Hart said as an immigrant it was hard to get a foot in the door.
"I have worked many jobs overseas but it feels like you're starting from scratch again in a new country.
"I want to change that for my wife and my son. I am entitled to a future and so are they."
He had applied to get his forklift licence with one of the local training providers to get the ball rolling.
"I like training and I want to train people. The best thing you can do in life is to educate yourself. It's about passing it forward."
Winstone Wallboards national human resources manager Suliana Mailangi said more than 100 people turned up for the open day to register their interest.
An open day was held last year virtually due to Covid restrictions and she was glad to be able to see everyone in person.
Mailangi said she was "stoked" with the turnout.
"It is great to get a real mix of people turn up for all sorts of roles. I am stoked to see all the females turning up.
"We have encouraged them to look at manufacturing and distribution roles."
There were about 100 jobs, of which 70 to 80 will be filled by local people, and up to 30 per cent will relocate from the Auckland site, she said.
Sixty per cent will be in manufacturing, engineering and production roles and 40 per cent will be in distribution and warehousing roles, she said.
Hannah Orchard, 30, said she was proud to be the only female engineer currently working for the company.
"The industry is changing. When I started there weren't that many women on site, but now we have to line up for the bathroom," she joked.
"It is really cool to see. This does not have to be a male-dominated industry."
Fletcher Building was working alongside its partners - including Priority One's employment hub Ara Rau, AJ Construct, and the Solomon Group - to support getting local people into roles at the new Winstone Wallboards plant.