Jump-starting a career in mechanical engineering

Jump-starting a career in mechanical engineering

Nikaia Crickett turns 18 next month and she is already in her second year of a mechanical engineering apprenticeship with Kernohan.
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Nikaia Crickett gives a thumbs up as she stands on a scissor lift.

She left home in Westport at 16 to come to Nelson and complete the Level 3 Mechanical Engineering(external link) certificate, an industry she has been interested in since she was small. 

“My dad is a heavy diesel mechanic, so I grew up around engines and tools,” Nikaia says. 

 “The brand-new clothes my mum would dress me in when I was little were quickly covered in grease,” she says. 

Nikaia was able to receive her first year of study fees free,(external link) which she says helped a lot.  

“The fees free scheme helped me get into studying. It’s quite good because it was very costly to move, and Nelson is more expensive than Westport.” 

She also made the most of the free lunches when the student association, SANITI, held them. 

“I would have chats with the people at SANITI all the time and they would help me with my reading and writing too,” Nikaia says.  

As she was studying for her certificate, Nikaia’s tutors gave her a list of all the companies in Nelson and helped her write her CV. She liked the sound of Kernohan, which is based at Nelson Port.  

“I went down there and handed someone my CV, and they turned out to be the owner,” Nikaia says. “They invited me to an interview and during the interview I was offered four weeks work experience. I’m now in my second year of my apprenticeship with them.” 

She works in the maintenance team and absolutely loves her role.  

“I’m here, there, and everywhere. Sometimes 12-hour days at Nelson Pine.” 

If you would like to learn more about our engineering and trades available programmes, visit the NMIT website(external link) 

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