From Corporate to Carpentry: Apprentice Blair Pedersen takes on a new opportunity

Building may be Blair Pedersen’s second career, but it’s given him a totally new outlook on life. Starting out in the corporate world, Blair came to realise that while he was outwardly successful, the lifestyle wasn’t for him. Some time out to decide on his future led to an apprenticeship with BCITO – and a brand-new appreciation for the trades.

Climbing the corporate ladder as a marketing professional, Blair’s work began to take a toll on his wellbeing. He struggled with staying fit and healthy, developing lower back pain from sitting in a chair all day long, and juggling so many responsibilities was hugely stressful.

“My mental health suffered terribly. I was unhappy, unfulfilled, and generally pretty miserable to be around, as it was very challenging to disconnect from work,” says Blair.

As a young adult, Blair had done the odd labouring and building job to earn money before heading to university. He found he was remembering those days with more and more regret. That taste of construction planted a seed that would one day need to bloom.

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Eventually the stress and pressure of his work became too much, and Blair resigned. He took a leap of faith and left the life he knew behind, taking three months off to look after his young son and consider his future. He decided on a carpentry apprenticeship with BCITO – and he’s never looked back.

“Since starting my apprenticeship, my mental health has improved significantly. I’m now very happy, which has had a flow-on effect to many areas of my life. I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m learning something completely new and am continually having small wins along the way,” Blair says.

In contrast to his previous job, he finds himself looking forward to arriving on site every morning. That’s given him back the enthusiasm for his work life he thought he’d lost. He already has big plans for the future.

“In the long term I’d like to start my own business, focusing on restoring old houses and building eco-friendly dwellings. For the short term, I want to learn as much as possible so I can keep up with the qualified guys on site and build out my toolkit. I’d like to get good at what I do again, because becoming a great carpenter is challenging, and it’s a long journey,” he explains.

When asked if he had any advice for others considering changing careers and starting fresh with a construction apprenticeship, Blair encouraged people to just take a leap.

“It may be jarring at first, but I promise it’s worth it. I’m learning so many useful skills that can help anyone. I truly believe this is the best decision I’ve made in years,” he says.

Aotearoa New Zealand needs more people from all backgrounds to consider a career in the trades. BCITO has the resources and support systems in place to ensure everyone can enhance and refine their skills. To learn more, head to  

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