GWE Workplace Strategy – Supporting NZ’s Young Sporting Women

Jan 7, 2020 | Staff News

Katie McKenty has been working for GWE since March 2019. Initially on a part-time basis, as an intern, while she completed the course work for her Master of Engineering Geology degree and now full time until March 2020, when she will work part-time again while completing her thesis.

GWE Workplace Strategy – Supporting NZ’s Young Sporting Women

Early on GWE Director Gareth Williams recognised Katie’s promising technical ability and was aware of her sporting (water polo) talents.

Gareth says,

“I had sporting and work opportunities early in my career and now I want to give back and would like to see promising people such as Katie achieve in both. I worked constructively with Katie and we agreed on a work-life plan that would allow her to pursue both of her dreams. It is now up to Katie to make the most of the opportunity and I know how determined she is so I am sure she will be successful”.

Katie says,

“At just the beginning of my career as a Graduate Geotechnical Engineer, GWE has allowed me to continue my professional development while providing me flexibility to continue representing New Zealand in Water Polo on an international stage. Through GWE, I have been able to manage my work and sports schedule to create an even balance between the two”.

FINA World Championships 2019, South Korea

Most recently, Katie had this to say about the World Championships.

Our most recent tournament was the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea, where we placed in the top 12. The trip was 3 weeks long from the 7th July to 28th July.

In preparation for the World Champs, we had a training camp alongside Australia, Canada and Japan in Kurashiki, Japan. This extra training and competition against some of the top teams in the world was invaluable to our lead up.  While there we got to explore the historic town that has a preserved canal area that dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867). Kurashiki is also the sister city of Christchurch so we were warmly welcomed by the locals. We visited Kurashiki Minami High School where we were welcomed by the students in an assembly and then spent the afternoon experiencing different aspects of their culture. Mayor Kaori Itō also held a welcome meeting where we got to speak with her and exchanged gifts.

On 11th July we continued on to Gwangju, South Korea where the World Champs would take place. We spent the first few days training and settling into the athletes’ village before our first game on the 14th July. The pool round saw us come up against South Africa, The Netherlands and reigning Olympic gold medallists, USA. We came away with two losses and win, which allowed us to progress into the top 12. We then crossed over with Hungary to try break into the top 8 but unfortunately, they proved too strong and we dropped down into the 9th – 12th bracket. Our next match was against Kazakstan, trailing at the beginning we came back earning a draw and sending the match into a penalty shoot-out but unfortunately fell short. In our final game, we came up against China and narrowly lost by 2 goals, earning a final placing of 12th.

We are now gearing up for 3 match test series against Australia in Canberra that will take place from the 8th – 14th December. This test series is part of our Olympic campaign as we hope to qualify for Tokyo 2020 in the Olympic Qualification tournament from the 8th – 15th March 2020, held in Italy.