December 6th, 2012
Taranaki Apprentice of the Year- Michael Abel
Twenty one year old Michael Abel has something to smile about. He recently won the Engineering Taranaki Consortium’s Apprentice of the Year award – a well-deserved recognition of the passion he has for his job.
“I always do my best to make sure I’m at the top. You have to make sure you’re always motivated.” And it’s this attitude which saw Michael outshine strong competition from the region’s engineering and electrical apprentices to take out the top spot.
The Fonterra Maintenance Technician’s interest in engineering was first sparked when at age 17, he took part in a Gateway placement, spending one day a week working at a fabrication company.
Deciding this was the career he wanted to pursue, he applied from school for an apprenticeship with Fonterra, and four years on he gained his National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, Maintenance Level 4.
But Michael isn’t done with training just yet. He has already started his Level 5 qualification. “I wanted to get the most out of training so I thought I’d do Level 5 as well. Right now I just want to focus on getting as much work experience as possible.”
Michael credits his training for helping him progress in his career, having spent the last six months as the acting maintenance team leader on-site. “Basically keeping the plant running is what I’m doing. I love that there are different challenges each day.”
And his recommendation to others wanting to take on his career is the same advice any engineer would give – make sure you take maths. “As much as everyone hates it, it’s the most useful subject.”
Going forward, Michael says there may be plans to do a degree – but he’s more than happy where he is. “The training I’ve received so far is recognised worldwide. Everyone wants a kiwi trained tradesman to work for them. No matter where you go it’s always there.”