A former Taradale High School pupil has been named Apprentice Electrician of the Year by a nationwide industry training operation.
Ippei Ninomiya, 22, recently qualified after serving an apprentice with Wattie’s in Hastings, was recognised in annual awards made by Etco, which has about 1000 apprentices training throughout New Zealand.
The organisation is calling for more, including people seeking a career change, amid a nationwide shortage.
The new shining light heard about Etco through its relationship with his school and says: “It’s an awesome career, there is so much variety and opportunity.”
While he served his entire apprenticeship with Wattie’s, he still gained experience in the domestic environment, but says the industrial aspect “is where my passion is”.
“I’d say to anyone thinking about a career, or changing careers, to give it a go,” says Ninomiya, who in 2017 won his school’s year 13 first price in trade skills.
He’s a bit of a livewire, a quick scan of Hawke’s Bay Today files revealing he was twice a finalist in the Hawke’s Bay Secondary Schools Sports Awards, as a football or futsal official.
He has since refereed occasionally amid the busy nature of the day-job, and says: “I do quite a lot of things.”
The eldest son among five brothers and sisters, he was born in Japan, and the family came to New Zealand when he was about 6, his father working in a winery and his mother owning a gelato ice cream business on Marine Parade.
The shortage of people in the electrical industry is highlighted by Etco Central North Island regional manager Lindsay John, who says more are being sought to start apprenticeships in Hawke’s Bay.
There are immediate vacancies and applicants are being sought to begin their training from February next year.
“There is huge local demand for apprentices and we’d love to be able to process new applicants before the end of the year,” he said.
Suitable candidates can expect to go through the company’s ELITE training process and be placed with local hosts by February, he said.
All training costs, apprentice salaries, annual leave, sick leave and pay during block release are covered by Etco, which is in its 30th year.
John said significant demand for more housing in Hawke’s Bay is contributing to an urgent need to attract a greater number of capable trainees for electrical careers in construction, industrial and domestic, both locally and nationally.
“Nationally, it’s estimated that we need several thousand more licensed electricians to meet demand,” he said.
Etco apprentice candidates need to have or be working towards achieving eight or more NCEA Level 2 credits, in each subject in Maths, English and an industry-related science, such as physics, a restricted or full driving licence, New Zealand residency and good colour vision.
But people who do not currently meet the NCEA requirements can join Etco’s Foundation programme, which provides a potential pathway to an electrical apprenticeship.