The time spent between finishing school and finding a career allowed Bob to think about what he enjoyed, and on returning home he resolved to concentrate his efforts in electrical trades.

“I applied for an apprenticeship with a large industrial contractor and got it, not really knowing what the job would entail,” Bob remembered.

During his apprenticeship, Bob enjoyed the teamwork aspect of the job, and worked towards gaining his National Certificate in Electricity Supply (Electrical), as well as becoming a registered electrician.

He now works installing new systems in the generation units in the network of Waikato River dams to make them safer and more efficient.

Bob said he loved the complexity of what he does, and the mental challenge it provides on a daily basis: “making things go isn’t as easy as flicking a switch”.

“I really enjoy where we get to go. One day you may be on a dam, the next inside a mountain, and the next in a substation. Most of these places the public are simply not allowed to go.”

Average pay

  • Qualified electricians with less than two years’ experience usually earn $37k–$46k per year.
  • Electricians with over three years’ experience usually earn $50k–$80k per year.

(Source: Electrical Contractors Association of New Zealand, 2010).

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