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We caught up with Tracey Chaplin and Rachel Finnegan (pictured), who are both members of the Ceres NZ team charged with demolishing the buildings on the New Dunedin Hospital site.

 

Tracey Chaplin, Health and Safety Advisor, Ceres NZ

How did you get into this line of work?
I had my own bridal studio for 16 years and when I closed the doors on that I did some admin work for Leighs Construction. They took me on fulltime to do Health and Safety, and I sat my diploma and did my other training before moving to Ceres. I’ve been in the industry for 6 ½ years.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?
The people. We have a great team, everyone gets along, everyone’s got their job to do, and everyone helps out. The team’s like one big family. People ask how I can work in health in safety – but I actually enjoy it! I want to be approachable and have the team come and talk to me so I can help them resolve issues. I once had someone who kicked off about health and safety, and the way I stopped him was by asking if he had kids. I told him my job’s to make sure he can go home every night and pick up his kids and cuddle them. He looked at things differently after that.

What do you enjoy about working on the New Dunedin Hospital project?
I love watching the buildings come down! It’s pretty exciting when you’re working amongst it.

What’s your advice for people wanting to get into the industry?
Just do it. Get in there and do the training if that’s what you want to do. I like seeing females getting into the construction and demolition side as well. They work just as hard as the blokes, if not harder, and they’re not scared of getting dirty.

 

Rachel Finnegan, Supervisor, Ceres NZ

How did you get into this line of work?
In Ireland I was in the army for seven years, so I’ve always kind of been in a man’s world. When I came to New Zealand I was Duty Manager at an Irish Bar, and then I decided to start labouring. I got my tickets doing asbestos removal with Ceres, and then I worked my way up through the ranks over 4 ½ years to Supervisor. I wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for the crew I’ve worked with – they take your hand and pull you up the ladder. Sometimes I get asked why I’m wearing makeup while I’m doing demolition, and I just say I’m still a girl.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?
When you’re the site supervisor you get to know absolutely everything about the job. You know the clients, you know about the asbestos, the demolition – and you can relay all that information so everyone else knows what’s going on.

What do you enjoy about working on the New Dunedin Hospital project?
This is the most high-profile job I’ve done and probably more meaningful because there’s a hospital going in. Compared to what I’ve done before, this is definitely up the scale. I enjoy the challenge.

What’s your advice for people wanting to get into the industry?
Just give it a go. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

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