Training their own apprentices makes good business sense for Dannevirke's customer-owned Scanpower, chief executive Lee Bettles says.
Four Scanpower line mechanics have successfully completed their training and are working on the company's growing power line contracting business around the North Island.
"Line mechanics are involved in building overhead and underground power systems and these recently qualified staff have all the understanding which goes with faults, repairs and emergencies," Mr Bettles said.
"This is a skilled vocation and staff are working with very high voltage lines and at heights. It's a challenging job."
The Scanpower apprentices have undertaken academic competencies at block courses as well as practical work, with their training taking between two and three years. However, a lot of apprentice training fell by the wayside in the 1980s and'90s and Mr Bettles said there was a generation gap in the industry.
"In the past decade there has been an obvious skill shortage developing, so we are active in training now," he said.
"Scanpower has line mechanics who work out of Oringi on the local network, as well as from our Feilding and Paraparaumu depots. We have 28 working in the field and another six qualified line mechanics working in project management and design. Our combined power line and network team now numbers 45."
Training its own apprentices allows Scanpower to grow and mentor its team according to the company's own values and work ethic, Mr Bettles said.
"It's about developing our own talent and if you are taking a long-term view of your business, it's essential. In our semi-rural area it's easier to train your own staff because you know what you are getting. And training locally, staff stay locally and contribute to our economy.
" Many later set up their own businesses and, if the next generation continue to grow the business, it maintains economic critical mass."
With 25 Scanpower line staff working on the growing contracting business outside our own area, this means the company is bringing a lot of money back into our district, Mr Bettles said.
Scanpower employs 65 staff and this year posted a 66 per cent rise in earnings, with Mr Bettles announcing the the customer discount this week.