Our 2022 Whanake Scholarship recipient Lydia Frater was lucky enough to be  appointed an internship at our member company John Jones Steel over the last summer break. 

This scholarship is targeted to a Māori student in their first year of a four-year Bachelor of Engineering degree (B.E ., or B.Eng).  The scholarship comprises of an annual scholarship award and help with securing internships, tutoring or counselling if required. 

Below, Lydia tells us about her experiences during the internship and learnings. 


During the summer of 2023-2024, I completed a summer internship at John Jones steel at their Hornby Branch.

During this time, I spent time in their workshop where I was exposed to welding and fabrication, with the processes taken for quality assurance involved with their QA Orlee, as well as interpreting the draughts and being able to know the orientation, specs and if mistakes were made. For me, this was enjoyable as I already had touched base on this during my first-year classes so it was great to see it in practical application!

I was also able to be involved in the processing aspects of the workshop, where I witnessed the process of steel coming in and the prep made for the fabricators as well as all the safety and calibration tests to ensure quality productions.

Outside of the workshop, I was fortunate enough to be taken on to different sites and learn about quality control inspections with their QC Dennis. It was also great to be able to get perspective from the site workers’ on the ins and outs of their day and how engineering reflects on to their job, as well as the safety precautions I must be aware of in my future.

Inside the office, I spent time in the draughting division, sitting in on a meeting with the project manager William, and the engineer on a current job.

What have I gained from my internship?

Having exposure to the different areas of work, gave me a great perspective on how many different people and procedures are done in Aotearoa New Zealand when it comes to structural steel. This allowed me to see not only the hard work behind projects, but also the positives and negatives that can happen.

For me, being able to see real-life structural engineering in progress made me feel like I made the right decision in pursuing structural/civil engineering. The opportunity to complete my first internship at John Jones Steel exposed me to the real world of work and gave me a taste of what my future might look like. This can only be learnt from getting out of your comfort zone and giving everything a go, so I am very grateful for this experience as it gave me a wide range of people and jobs to learn from which will definitely help me in my future studies and projects once I graduate!

Learning not only the engineer’s job but who contributes to the project has given me a wider perspective of the structural engineering industry and has been helpful in helping me understand what to expect (which newly grads can often be nervous about!). No doubt, this experience will aid in my abilities as an engineer and help with further internships to come.


John Jones Steel QA Orlee Onilongo, saying of Lydia’s internship: “I worked with Lydia for a couple weeks during her time at JJS.”

“She easily understood how to read the drawings and how to apply this into actual jobs - especially when I explained dimensions and welding symbols of structural steel as she easily picked things up and finished her tasks in a timely manner.”

“Lydia was a good assistant and a fast learner – I see that she will have a good and bright future in the industry” she said.

Are you a student keen to join the HERA fold too?

We are extremely proud of Lydia and how her studies are going and it has been great to have been able to link her in to internship opportunities like this as part of her Whanake scholarship.

If you too are an aspiring Māori in engineering and would like to know more about the Whanake Scholarship, please click here.

If you a Aotearoa New Zealand student studying engineering – we also would love you to join our free student membership so you can keep up to date with the latest from industry, have access to our publications to support your studies, gain discounts to our events and link in to our internship opportunities!