Introducing Devender, your new Apprentice Leader

Devender Pal Singh from Design Windows (Cromwell) joins our new Apprentice Leader group as the AAJ representative. Devender’s partnership with BCITO highlights our commitment to empowering and involving apprentices in shaping their learning experiences.

Devender has an interesting career background, having come to New Zealand in 2018 from India.

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“In India, I studied at University for four years and completed a Degree in Mechanical Engineering. At the same time, I had a brother here in New Zealand who was studying Hotel Management in Auckland and after completing that he opened an authentic Indian restaurant in Alexandra – a long way from home!

After I completed my studies in India, I applied to come to New Zealand to study. The closest place to my brother was Dunedin so that’s where I went! I completed a one-year programme and graduated with a Post Graduate Diploma in Applied Management. So, for a year I would study in Dunedin for five days a week and then go back to Alexandra for the weekend. After I completed my studies in 2019, I moved permanently to Alexandra and worked in the restaurant seven days a week.

That was a heavy workload, so I decided it was time to look for a new opportunity and investigated returning to the mechanical profession specialising in windows!

As things turned out, in 2020 I started working at Design Windows in Cromwell where I worked in the fabrication side and as a glazier. I really enjoyed the job and the people but found that the lifting and physical side of the work was hard on the body. So, after three years, I spoke to my boss John Hancock about an opportunity to go into estimating. I was well suited to this after working in the fabrication side of the business - I had good grounding in what’s needed to put together an order list of components.

In late 2023 I started my BCITO apprenticeship studying towards the New Zealand Certificate in Architectural Aluminium Joinery: Estimator Level 4. I’ve progressed well and am already considered a senior estimator and have one person to supervise. I get a lot of pleasure from being able to help others. I certainly see this as a pathway to being a cost estimator and even maybe one day a Quantity Surveyor.

I look forward to building more skills and working on new, different, and bigger jobs – that’s what excites me. Some of the jobs we do for high-end properties have massive windows that can cost as much as $0.5 million, maximising the wonderful views of the Queenstown Lakes Area.

My wife and I married in 2022 and she joined me in New Zealand in 2023. Last year we bought our first home in Alexandra and my brother lives with us. Family from India come and stay, and they can’t believe the beautiful place that we now call home.

I look forward to being part of the Apprentice Leader group – being able to support other people, share my culture and the job that I love, and the experience that I’ve had with BCITO as my training partner.”