photo Katie and George Syme

Katie and George Syme with keys to their new house.

Few young New Zealanders expect to own their home before they’re 30, let only 20, but for two siblings from Rangiora that’s a reality.
Hairdressing apprentice Katie Syme, 20, and mechanical apprentice George Syme, 17, bought their first home last year, with help from their Dad for the deposit.
As apprentices, Katie and George have constant income while they study for their qualifications, enabling them to make mortgage payments.
Katie is in her third year of her apprenticeship with New Zealand’s Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation (HITO) and hopes to graduate next year. She started working part-time in a salon when she was 14 and is now part of the team at Cedar Heights Hair Studio in Rangiora, Canterbury. Working Saturdays and late nights while she was still at school gave her a taste for the job.
“I always wanted a trade, something I could travel with.”
Learning on the job appealed to Katie and led her to starting an apprenticeship.
“I didn’t really want to be sitting down all day with pen and paper, I’m pretty practical. I love the atmosphere here.”
Katie says the best part of her job is working with people.
“I love meeting different kinds of people and hearing different stories.”
Her team at the salon are very supportive and celebrate her training achievements – even sharing them with clients on the salon’s Facebook page.
Over the last year Katie has mastered foil colours and cutting and can now offer these services to clients.
When she graduates, Katie is looking forward to seeing more of New Zealand, and the world. She says hairdressing will always be a big part of her life and offers many career options.
“I like the look of being a rep, I like sales and enjoy learning about product.”
She recommends apprenticeship training to practical people with a strong work ethic.
“Go for it, but make sure you know what you’re getting into – it’s hard work, but well worth it.”

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