Meet Jess, your new Apprentice Leader

Kitchen Design Jess.JPG

Jess Harding of Kitchen Mania Auckland joins the 2024/2025 BCITO Apprentice Leadership Group. Jess’s partnership with BCITO is part of the next intake of apprentice leaders in the Kitchen Design sector, highlighting BCITO’s commitment to empowering and involving apprentices in shaping their learning experiences. The group, initiated in 2023, is a progressive approach to fostering collaboration and communication at the grassroots level within the construction trades.

Before starting her trade in 2021 with Carl at Kitchen Mania, Jess gained her Industrial Design degree at Massey Wellington. Soon after qualifying, the energy and good surf drew her to Sydney, where she completed a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training qualification while working in a dynamic management team within a global retail network focusing on producing ethical products for yogis. She learned a lot about leading people and the type of leader she aspired to be.

Now, daily yoga practice gets Jess up and going, but her colleagues and clients get her to work. She loves working with a range of different people and being able to transform spaces excites her, especially when it changes someone’s life.

Pre-Kitchen Design, Jess is extremely proud of her Industrial Design Honours project. She chose a tricky topic and opted to design a breast for women who have had mastectomies, wanting to give them a realistic future breastfeeding experience when they have children. It was emotionally challenging, but through the lens of others, it taught her so much.

A self-confessed born hobbyist, Jess surfs, loves hot yoga, runs, reads, sews, does pottery, swims, enjoys a fast card game with friends, and, where possible, never misses the opportunity to enjoy live music.

Jess looks forward to challenging herself in her role as an Apprentice Leader and, during this time, leading transformative change in sustainable practices in the construction space, specifically in the joinery and design trades. She has something cool planned and views the leadership platform as the perfect position to launch this.

Jess joins Rachel Usman of Royale Kitchens Auckland, the first Tiling apprentice leader, as the second voice for apprentices in the Tiling sector. They’re part of a dynamic cohort of 30 apprentice leaders, which includes 15 new additions, featuring two representatives from each BCITO-mandated trade.

The structure of the program, with a term of 24 months and a new cohort recruited every 12 months, ensures a continuous influx of fresh perspectives and ideas.

The emphasis on forming authentic partnerships between leaders, employers, industry, and BCITO is crucial for creating a supportive and effective learning environment.

We’re excited to team up with Jess! Ready to make some awesome changes that’ll be a game-changer for all kitchen design apprentices.

If you’d like to know more about the apprentice leader program and how to support it, please contact Verina Advocate for the Learner Voice.