Smooth operator

Name: Rikki Dewes

Age: 26

Job: Plasterer

City/town: Hastings 

What does your job entail? All the plastering, Gib stopping and interior systems and Rondo suspended ceilings. I’m the foreman so I have to be the ‘go to’ person before people enter the site, organise the crew to do the work and make sure the work’s carried out to standard.

How long have you been doing it? Five years.

What led you to this job? From my early days at high school I’ve always wanted to do something with my hands so it had to be a trade.

What attracted you to this line of work? Everyone around me was starting building or getting a qualification. So I walked around and went into Atlas Plasterers and asked for a job. I had no idea what their work was about. They employed me and it was fine.

What training was involved? A three-year apprenticeship, so training on the job and bookwork. Then I did one more year to get my fibre cement board linings certificate.

What do you love most about your job? Our company’s got some awesome teachers – 30 top plasterers with their knowledge of all types of plastering – so I get to learn all the tricks of the trade. We’re all on the same wavelength about goals and life. I like interacting with people and meeting  different types of people at jobs and making everyone smile.

And what are the worst bits? No bad bits really.

What motivates you in your work? Progressing in life. Saving to travel with my wife.

What are your career goals? To own my own businesses – one in Hawke’s Bay and one in Australia. And just to flourish in the industry.

Do you have any key mentors or people who have influenced you? My boss, who has given me the opportunity and given me the talk to tell me what I need to do and how I need to act. My wife backing me up at home.

Where did you grow up and what was it like? I grew up in Hastings and went to St John’s College. It was a good place to grow up because it’s not too big but made up of two communities so it’s a close-knit place. You’re always meeting somebody who knows somebody you know.

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