Switched-on Matt begins apprenticeship

Teenager Matt Archer of Mohaka has been selected as one of 12 young people across the country to be taken on board a national electricity industry apprenticeship programme.

For the former Napier Boys' High School student, when the idea of having a shot at a place on the programme was aired during a careers night at school last year there was no hesitation in having a go.

As he said himself, tinkering with anything to do with engineering has long been part of his life.

He grew up in the rural Mohaka region and said he enjoyed helping out on one of the farms in the area with basic engineering tasks and working on diesel machinery.

"So the apprentice programme seemed like a good choice for me."

Last Thursday was his first day on the job, with he and his 11 apprentice mates joining 26 other apprentices at Wairakei who have been undergoing training in preparation for the three-year apprenticeship to gain national certificates in electrical engineering, electricity supply, mechanical engineering and occupational health and safety.

"My goal is to become a qualified mechanical engineer with a wide range of skills," the 17-year-old said.

"I'm also looking forward to working with like-minded people and learning from some of the industry's experts."

The apprenticeship programme was set up in 2011 between Contact Energy and Mighty River Power to boost the number of qualified electricity technicians.

Contact spokeswoman Annika Streefland said the company was excited about the long-term career prospects for the apprentices.

"We strongly believe in investing for the future and this programme helps us secure a sustainable supply of skilled technicians."

Matt will be one of six apprentices based at the Wairakei station near Taupo, with the other six being taken on at Mighty River Power.


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