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Student story

Jake Spinks

20 July 2023

"I knew that Engineering had lots of job opportunities with the rebuild..."


Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Civil Engineering

Master of Engineering Studies endorsed in Fire Engineering

Jake's studies in Civil Engineering sets him on a career path to shape a range of urban structures in our modern environment.

"I enjoy the challenge, and the fact that there is always something new to learn. By becoming an engineer, I will also be able to contribute to society in a meaningful way," he says.

Hearing about UC's reputation in Civil Engineering studies made his decision to enrol here.

"I was good at maths, physics, and chemistry, and knew that Engineering had lots of job opportunities with the rebuild. It also seemed like an interesting area to study," he says. "I enjoyed the flexibility compared to school. There is the possibility to study in your own time so you can work around outside commitments."

Outside of study Jake is a New Zealand national judo champion, which means fitting a lot of training and competitions around his Engineering studies.

"In 2016 I finally achieved my black belt, after 15 years of training and competing," he says. "I try my best to train two times a week at my club, Can-Am-Ju, however University comes first when it gets busy.

"I also try to compete three times a year at the bare minimum. These three tournaments are the Canterbury Champs, South Islands, and Nationals. I have won gold medals at all these tournaments while I have been studying at University, and these medals have been in the senior men, under 90kg weight division."

He has also been offered a place in the National Judo team for the last three years, which inspires him once finished studies to take both his engineering and sporting career international. Jake plans to go into engineering consulting work after completing his master's, and become a chartered professional engineer.

Fire Engineering is his particular choice of vocation after "stand out" courses from his Civil Engineering degree introduced him to a new interest in fire dynamics.

"I really enjoyed the 3rd Pro fire engineering course (ENGR 403)," he says. "I also thoroughly enjoyed my final year project, which was investigating the heat release rates of plant material when different species were burnt together."

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