Quentin Rowe is proof that it’s never too late to upskill. At 49, the Ara Institute of Canterbury New Zealand Diploma in Engineering student has almost 30 years of industry experience, but never finished his formal qualification.
“I’ve always has this nagging voice in the back of my mind about getting my qualification and when I started looking for overseas work, I realised that I needed that piece of paper,” he says.
Quentin Rowe says that working on practical projects, including building a go-kart from scratch, has been a highlight of studying at Ara.
The practical focus of the diploma appealed to Quentin, due to the wide scope and hands-on nature of his work as a mechanical designer. With a career including a role at Britten Motorcycles and many years running his own business, he says that studying is about filling the gaps.
“I know the industry well, but I don’t know it all. The course is giving me a deeper understanding of engineering principles, calculations and theory. I’m also putting these skills to use through practical projects, including working with a team to build a go-kart from scratch.”
Initially, Quentin was apprehensive about being the oldest in his class, but he says that it’s been invigorating to be part of a diverse group.
“Our class has students from all over the world and I’m learning a lot from them. It’s refreshing to work with a range of young and different people.”
He was also nervous about returning to study but says that he has hit the ground running thanks to the support of his classmates and tutors.
“We all back each other up - it’s a real team environment and we use our stengths to help each other succeed.”
Due to finish in November, Quentin now feels confident to look for overseas work again.
“The course has given me new expertise and is definitely expanding my ability to take on new clients. Mixing it up and heading back to study for a year has been a great move and I’m excited about what’s ahead for me.”