12 May 2015
Taking on three HVAC apprentices eighteen months ago was a big step for Christchurch-based Gavin Lowe Energy. It’s paying off, helping them meet their need for skilled tradespeople in a tight labour market.
“There’s a huge demand for qualified engineers in Christchurch and a small pool of talent,” says General Manager Karen Lowe. “So ‘growing our own’ through the apprenticeship system has been the right way to go.
“Taking on apprentices also means we’re training our team to use our own equipment and processes – and that’s important for any business, wherever they are in New Zealand.”
Karen likes the structure of the apprenticeship system and says it’s working well for the company and their learners.
“Our Competenz account manager Dave Bond visits us ten times a year, and that really helps our apprentices stay ahead with their learning. That’s particularly the case with their off-job study where it’s easy to get behind. Dave makes sure the guys keep up with their bookwork and complete their unit standards on time.”
The result? “We’re really confident Warrick, Michael and Troy will gain their trades skills and complete their apprenticeships on time. The guys share that confidence too. So everyone benefits.”
Gavin Lowe has a strong history of training and are looking to take on another apprentice later this year.
“My father set up this business twenty years ago after forty years in refrigeration and air conditioning, and I’m always coming across people he trained,” says Karen. “It’s good to be continuing to support our industry by building the skills we need.”