Keeping it in the family

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04 March 2022

Competenz Training Advisor Allen Bryce has spent the last 25 years helping students through their engineering qualifications; and he’s now training the son of one of his original learners.

Kerry Morrison was one of Allen’s first apprentices, completing a Maintenance and Diagnostic in Mechanical Engineering qualification in 2000. Kerry’s son Dylan, who happened to be born the year he qualified, is now under Allen’s wing studying towards his Level 4 qualification in Engineering Fabrication.

While father and son have embarked on different engineering qualifications, Allen says there are many similarities between them.

“Both Kerry and Dylan are determined and focused on the task at hand. They’re hard workers. In just a few months, Dylan had exceeded the training progress expectations. I remember 25 years ago, Kerry was also just like that.”

Kerry has carved out a great career since qualifying and now works for Tetra Pak as Asset Care Manager, working with the company’s clients to help set up the preventive maintenance for all new equipment they install.

“I wouldn’t have the position I have today if I hadn’t completed a trade,” says Kerry. “I believe on-the-job training is as good if not better than going to university. I find the people with trade back grounds who have moved up into management are more practical and understand how things work.”

Dylan is four months into his apprenticeship at Installation and Piping Services in Hamilton and says Competenz is helping him with his study. “I would recommend doing an apprenticeship if you’re a hands-on learner like me. I know the future’s going to hold great things.”

Over the two decades Allen’s been a training advisor, he’s seen the way apprentices learn has changed, for the better.

“In the 1990s, apprentices were sent a big training manual, which contained all the information needed to complete the apprenticeship. These days the system for an apprentice training is a lot more automated. Block courses and distance learning assignments are organised by a dedicated team, and monitored closely by a training advisor. In most cases, and for mechanical engineering, the training advisor will assess and report the on-job units, relieving the apprentice’s employer of a huge workload and responsibility.”

Allen says he sees huge value in New Zealand apprenticeships and vocational training.

“An apprentice who becomes a tradesperson is lining up for a fantastic career path. Doing an apprenticeship lays the foundation for whatever they choose to do from then on. If they stay in the engineering sector, they then add to the wealth and rich skill base of the industry and society. Also, they are set up for a very rewarding and satisfying career.”

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