Engineering is not a job, but a lifelong career for engineering apprentice


19 November 2015

Competenz engineering apprentice Marlane Harmer loves every second of her mechanical engineering apprenticeship at Ravensdown based in Napier.

The 23-year-old won the Competenz Stuart Tolhurst Apprentice Trophy at this year’s 2015 SKF National Maintenance Engineering Conference (NMEC) in Hamilton. The award, which celebrates the achievements of an apprentice who has shown good work ethic and initiative, confirms for Marlene why engineering is not just a job, but a passion.

“I was blown away by the win. It’s really cool, such a great feeling. I’m really thankful to everyone who has helped me get to this point in my career,” she says.

“I love my job as a mechanical engineering apprentice. Nothing is boring; there’s always something new to learn, even on the dirty jobs. I probably get dirtier than anyone else. I love to get right into what needs to be done.”

A chance meeting at a local pub early last year was the beginning of a career pathway for the mother of one.

“I was a barmaid at a local pub when I ended up having a chat with Rob Miller (Maintenance Manager at Ravensdown),” she says.

“I was handing out CVs everywhere but not having much luck. Rob said he’d put in a good word for me. I had one printed CV left when I applied for the apprenticeship in July last year. I guess it was lucky last for me.”

Marlane believes practice makes perfect.

“I go to great lengths to make sure my welding is good. I’ve learnt so much already. I used to do things half-pie, but now I do my work more thoroughly. I’d really like to be an underwater welder someday.”

Rob says Marlane is passionate about engineering, and this shows in her attitude and commitment to her work.

“We nominated Marlane for the award not because she’s female, but because of her whole attitude and the skills that she has developed. From my 30-plus years of working in the trades, Marlane is the best apprentice I’ve ever come across,” Rob says.

“She’s outstanding. All our management team clapped for her when she came into the canteen the other day. We’re all behind her 100%.”

Marlane is working towards finishing her apprenticeship in 2017. She’s hoping to gain more experience at Ravensdown after she finishes her apprenticeship.

Her advice to others thinking of doing an engineering apprenticeship?

“Give it a go. And when you do decide to do an apprenticeship, give it all you’ve got. Learn as much as you can. Gain as much experience as possible.”

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