Desiree Holliday 2

Desiree Holliday

Apprentice, Auckland


Proud Māori apprentice asserts herself in trades career 

Desiree Holliday, a proud ‘Westie’ hailing from Te Atatū North, has found her stride at Builders Academy as she progresses her carpentry apprenticeship. In a field traditionally dominated by men, Desiree's resilience and determination shines through, proving that gender is no barrier to success. 

Describing her experience, Desiree emphasises the importance of individualised learning: "Each apprentice learns differently... people training carpentry apprentices need to understand what suits them." 

This personalised approach to education is a cornerstone of Builders Academy's ethos, fostering an environment where every student can thrive. 

Despite being in a male-dominated industry, Desiree stands tall, unafraid to assert herself. Reflecting on her interactions with male peers, she remarks, "I'm not scared to tell them off or put them in their place." 

She recalls a pivotal moment when she had to assert her boundaries with her boss, jokingly stating, "I had to tell the boss to just back off and give me space and let me find out who I am as a builder." 

Working closely with her Workplace Apprenticeship Educator, she values open dialogue, noting, "Communication must be such an important part of your progression." 

 She acknowledges that conflicts may arise but emphasises the importance of swift resolution, saying, "We seem to sort things pretty fast... we kind of can move forward and past it." 

When asked about the qualities of a great teacher, Desiree emphasises the need for understanding and adaptability. 

"What makes the best teacher is when you can figure out how your apprentice learns the best," she explains.  

For Desiree, this means providing space to think independently while still offering support when needed. 

Looking ahead to the future, Desiree envisions herself as a qualified carpenter with ambitions to run her own site and crew. 

"When I get qualified, immediately I will ask for a pay rise!" she jokes, showcasing her determination to excel in her chosen field. 

Watch the full interview