Hawke’s Bay man wins steel industry Apprentice of the Year

The steel industry’s newest Apprentice of the Year says research is key for any apprentice who doesn’t want to be stuck sweeping floors.

Red Steel employee Caleb Ireland was recognised as the best apprentice for Steel Construction New Zealand’s (SCNZ’s) Apprentice of the Year award.

It’s the second year in a row that Napier-based Red Steel has produced an Apprentice of the Year and the third time since the award was introduced in 2016.

Ireland said his path into working as an apprentice in steel fabrication began with his hobby of welding stockcar frames to race in.

“I realised I enjoyed welding, which led me down a path to steel fabrication,” Ireland said.

“I was offered experience at a local engineering company while I was at Hastings Boys’ High, which led to learning about ATNZ [Apprentice Training New Zealand] and how you could earn money while learning.”

He said he owed his success to everyone at Red Steel, for employing him and helping him to succeed, and also to Ben Julian at ATNZ.

“It was very cool to be recognised for the hard work, and in front of the high rollers of the steel industry. Just the experience of attending the annual conference and awards night in Queenstown was special.”

He advised potential apprentices to do their research first on the best companies offering suitable experience “to avoid sweeping the floor for too long!”.

“And push yourself to get through the paperwork side of the apprenticeship to avoid delaying your move to real money.”

Alister Varcoe, Workshop Manager for Red Steel, said the company was impressed with Ireland’s passion to develop himself.

“Caleb has become a diligent and dependable employee who inspires others with his ability to learn quickly and collaborate,” Varcoe said.


First published by HB Today. Click here to read the full article.