March 4th, 2013

It all starts with an apprenticeship

For Bruce Hollows and Nathan Brown, owning their own business meant starting from square one – completing an apprenticeship. And after spending over 25 years gaining industry experience, the duo established Wellington based Aztech Engineering in 2004.

Starting with just 6 employees, Aztech has grown to a team of 26 - seconding two new apprentices through ATNZ every two years. “We noticed a huge void, a skills gap, when the apprenticeship scheme was pulled. Most of our guys here are 40 years plus, so we want to use the wealth of knowledge we’ve still got left to fill up the gap,” says Bruce.

And as a clear demonstration of the company’s commitment to training, Aztech, along with ATNZ, is paying for an apprentice to take one day off per week for a total of 22 weeks, simply to focus on up-skilling. Yes, Aztech is home to WorldSkills competitor Jaric Savill, who is now spending every Friday focusing on preparing to face the world’s most talented young welders in Leipzig, Germany this July.

“We’ve always had one of our apprentices make the National finals,” says Bruce. “Jaric wasn’t quite ready last time, but we encouraged Jaric to enter WorldSkills again. It’s a fantastic way to give him a challenge and really test his skills.”

Aztech has managed to secure Jaric sponsors for all his materials, and is even looking to hire a professional welder to give Jaric coaching tips on some of the finer points to perfect his welding technique. For Jaric’s seconding company it’s all about the transfer of knowledge. “We just want to keep the trade working – get fresh young blood into the industry. If people like us don’t do it then no one will.”