June 8th, 2012
Cool future for young problem solvers
Paul McIntyre enjoys working under pressure. And it’s a good thing too as there was plenty of pressure for the third year refrigeration
apprentice at the Wallie Askew Work Skills Competition
recently held in Auckland.
The national competition, which is run by the Institute of Refrigeration, Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers of New Zealand (IRHACE), is held every year to test the skills and knowledge of the industry’s young talent from eight regions across the country.
It’s not for the faint hearted. The competition runs for a full day and puts the apprentices through their paces with both a written exam to test their theoretical knowledge and a four hour practical task to showcase their technical mastery.
Paul McIntyre, an Apprentice Training New Zealand
(ATNZ) apprentice, is well-placed to compete among the country’s top apprentices. He’s been in the industry for five years and during this time has been exposed to an extremely wide range of customers and issues.
Says Paul, “My employer, Hawkes Bay Refrigeration has a great scope of work. I’m in a different workplace every day. On any given day I could be called out to a cannery, a cool store, a boat, a supermarket, or a hospital.”
Paul’s been on call for over a year now and it’s clear that he relishes the responsibility. “If that cannery at Wattie’s goes down, it can mean huge money. It’s up to you to diagnose the problem – and you might have 40 odd staff who can’t get on with work, just looking at you. People can get quite stressed. If you can cope with that kind of pressure, that’s a good thing.”
For Paul, the problem-solving aspect of his refrigeration service work is what he enjoys most. “I love fault-finding, working out the problems in a system.” There were certainly plenty of problems for Paul to work through in the Wallie Askew competition including fabricating an evaporator and heat exchanger from basic materials.
Paul was awarded third place overall
in what the judges called an extremely close competition. It’s an achievement Paul can certainly feel proud of, his employer too.
“Paul’s come a long way in the last 12 months,” says Shayne Murphy, the owner of Hawkes Bay Refrigeration and a former refrigeration apprentice himself. “The competition is a great opportunity for Paul and the other apprentices to broaden their experience and extend their networks. But beyond that, the commitment to training this competition fosters is extremely positive for the industry as a whole.”