Sparkie Josh Southcombe has started his own business venture after spending 13 years at Chamberlain Electrical.

Born and raised in Whanganui, Southcombe said the downtime he had during the Covid-19 lockdown accelerated his decision to start his own business, Southcombe Electrical.

"I had done 13 years for Chamberlains and I didn't really see myself being there in 10 years.

"Why don't I give it a shot? You can only find out by trying."


The idea of running his own business has always been in the back of Southcombe's mind.

"It's probably the day you start your apprenticeship, you have this idea you may be able to be an electrician, running your own firm at some stage."

Southcombe is running the business with fiance Holly, who will be in charge of keeping the books. Southcombe said their three young children were a strong driving force in his decision.

"I want my kids to be proud of what their dad has achieved and potentially even inherit the company if they so wish.

"There will be something for them in the future if they want to take on an apprenticeship."

Once work demand increases, Southcombe hopes to provide apprentices with the opportunities he was given.

"There's a lot of one-man bands in this town and I feel that the apprentice is good for the business and it's also good for the young person.

"The way we were treated when we were training, I would like to treat them in a similar way and have them loyal to the company."


The Government's $1.6b pledge to providing free trades and vocational studies for the next two years is a great opportunity for both businesses and students, Southcombe said.

"It's a huge incentive to take on young guys, it's massive."

Southcombe said he could save up to $10,000 over the next two years of training an apprentice.

"That's not the driving force, but for the cash flow, it's not as daunting."

Although he is nervous about what the future holds post-Covid-19, Southcombe said he is excited to start his new journey.

He credits his parents, Mark and Carolyn, who own an architecture company, with inspiring and supporting him in his business venture.

"They were a great support. Dad has always run his own businesses. In his line of work he has a lot of pride in what he does and has been really supportive."