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Celebrating Wintec wāhine: Amy Opperman

This Wednesday, 8 March is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #EmbraceEquity. Instead of celebrating for just one day, we’ve decided to celebrate each day this week with a profile of a Wintec | Te Pūkenga kaimahi or ākonga. 

First up we have our Team Manager for Plumbing and Industrial Measurement Controls at our Centre for Trades, Amy Opperman.

Tell us about your position at Wintec?

It is an absolute privilege to be a Team Manager for Plumbing and Industrial Measurement Controls at the Centre for Trades at Wintec | Te Pūkenga as our kaiako bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the organisation.

Out at Trades, we are practical can-doers and we train future business owners who will care for a large portion of New Zealand's workforce, which is critical skill development in a housing shortage.

In 2022 our Pre-trade Plumbing programme was unified to align with the new national programme developed by Te Pūkenga. We also recently received approval for a new Industrial Measurement and Control (IMC) programme; we are New Zealand's only provider of IMC, which is a high performing and specialised field.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

I am a mother of three amazing kids, and I love to watch my boys play football and futsal. One of my boys plays for Waikato futsal and so I try to get to as many games as possible. It is one of New Zealand's fastest-growing sports. More recently, we purchased a Cavoodle puppy with a small tummy button, therefore we have named her Button. She's scrumptious. It was either the Cavoodle or a trip to Fiji, and Button came out on top.

What makes you passionate about your area of work/study and would you encourage other women to get into your line of work/study?

I am passionate about people and believe that anyone can have a successful career in Trades. We are seeing a significant shift of females joining the trades at Wintec and a notable amount in Plumbing. In the past we may have had 1-2 females plumbing apprentices a year we are now seeing at least 10-15 a year, a number which is continuing to grow in our block courses which is great to see. We also have female staff, one who has been in the plumbing industry for 30 years.

Why is it important to support woman in trades? 

  • Diversity strengthens your business  
  • Women customers can feel comfortable dealing with other women 
  • It is great for marketing our industry as inclusive, contemporary and innovative
  • If I can quote the Majesty Colleen Upton from Hutt Gas and Plumbing “if I can see it, I can be it”. This means if there are more women in trades, we will attract more women in trades, this is a win-win for everyone.

We have a Wahine in Trades event annually at the Centre for Trades. Wahine Trades apprentices/business owners can come to present/talk about their experience, answer any questions Wahine Trade students might have about working in the industry, and hopefully inspire them to get an apprenticeship, start their own business and hire more Wahine into the industry.

Do you have a favourite quote that inspires you?

You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. - Steve Jobs 

If you were a crayon, what colour would you be and why?

I would be red, it is my favourite colour and to me, it represents passion, desire, romance, joy, strength, leadership, courage, willpower, action, vibrance, radiance, and determination. And it’s an awesome lipstick colour. 

What are you most proud of?

My three children and my Master's degree in Educational Leadership completing with first-class honours.

Anything interesting or a fun fact about yourself that you want to add?

I am a trained professional chef, which has prepared me for a successful career. Working under pressure, managing employees, people skills, creative menu design, and like many careers, these are all transferrable skills. Being a chef, I've had the opportunity to travel the world and engage with multiple cultures. 

My recent completion of a master's degree in educational leadership with first-class honours was a professional milestone for me. Learning is a lifetime process that no one can take away from you; it develops and enhances mana, and I model this to my children and remind them if I can do it anyone can. 

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