After a whirlwind round-the-world trip eight years ago, Kristian Otto, originally from Wales, decided to make New Zealand his home. “During my travels I spent a few months in New Zealand and loved it,” he says. “It’s such a beautiful part of the world.”

“I returned to the UK, and after three years, while attending a careers expo in London, I got the opportunity to work in New Zealand. I moved here four months later!”

2021 MITO Business Skills Scholarship recipient Kristian Otto

Kristian’s interests always skewed towards engineering but once exposed to the mining and quarrying industry, he hasn’t looked back. “I did a mechanical engineering apprenticeship through a company in South Wales when I was seventeen,” he explains. “It just so happened to be in a quarry and I’ve worked in the mineral extractives industry since.”

He completed the National Certificate in Extractive Industries (Mining Administration Surface Extraction B Grade) (Level 5) through MITO in 2017 and the A Grade qualification the following year.

Now the Canterbury Quarries Manager for Winstone Aggregates, Kristian has certainly climbed his way up the career ladder. “My job involves the day-to-day running of the business and three of our sites in the Canterbury region. We’ve got two quarries and a sand pit.”

After being awarded a MITO 2021 Business Skills scholarship, Kristian’s now on his way to complete MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Business (First Line Management) (Level 4). “I was looking at the other programmes MITO offered because I really liked the B and A grade qualifications that I did – the way they were structured and the detail they went into,” he says. “It just so happened that when I looked, there was the scholarship available so I thought I may as well apply. It was just ideal really.”

“It’s a pretty cool opportunity,” Kristian adds. “It’s good to always improve yourself and your knowledge. Self-development is one of my main focuses. I think COVID-19 has made everyone realise that it’s good to improve yourself where you can.”

“I plan on working my way up to even higher management,” he explains. “That’s definitely the next step for me. I’ve just done the first module of the First Line Management programme, which covers team development. It was very good, very informative.”

Kristian explains how the industry can often be misunderstood. “I think people are shocked when they realise what actually comes out of a quarry and its importance. We’ll always need to extract minerals for building and redevelopment.”

Kristian also discusses the constant need for new talent. “For example, in Christchurch, there’s still redevelopment from the earthquakes. The growth of cities at the moment, especially in New Zealand, means the infrastructure needs to improve, so we’re constantly looking for new talent to enter the industry.”

“It’s a good industry to be in,” Kristian adds. “It’s different, it’s well paid, it’s varied, and the skills you learn can be applied in other industries as well.”

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