Trade programme sparks career success for Electrical Apprentice

“Don’t do nothing!” was the best careers advice for former Ngā Taiatea Wharekura student Manaia, who landed an Electical Apprenticeship after signing up with Etco – the Electrical training company.

Manaia was unsure about what he wanted to do when he left school, but his Mum told him he would be fine, so long as he did something.

“In Year 13 I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was still jumping around uni and tech. I didn’t really have a pathway set-up so when the trades programme came up I just took the opportunity and it took me here. Etco put me into a placement and I started work in a really rewarding job!”

As a qualified electrician Manaia will be keeping the economy moving because nothing happens without electricity.

The FutureForce® team visited Manaia at mahi – Feisst Electrical in Kirikiriroa – to get the goss about his career so far..

Manaia Roa
Electrical Apprentice

Top Career Tip

“Follow what you love! If it doesn’t work out then you can always change. Remember you’re still young.”

A Chat with Manaia about his role

Manaia Roa
Electrical Apprentice
Former Nga Taiatea Wharekura Student

How did you get this role?

In my last year of school (Year 13), Waikato-Tainui was doing a young trades programme. So in the last 6 months of school, I finished school to join the programme and chose to do electrical. I was interested in electrical from the start and didn’t really want to do building or plumbing. They put me through ETCO – which is the main training body for apprentices. So they put me into placement and I started work!

About the qualification

The qualification you will be enrolling in is the NZ Certificate in Electrical Engineering Theory and Practice (Trade) (Level 4).

Entry requirements:

Level 2 NCEA or equivalent. If you don’t have the level 2 subjects, Etco may be able to help you get there, or you can start your journey with our Pre-Trade Foundation NZCEE (L3) course.

What do you do on the job?

Running cables, installing different switch gear powerpoints, switches, installing tray and ducting, which holds cables allowing them to run underground.

What do you love about your job?

I love looking back at what I’ve done. Seeing what I’ve accomplished and being proud of it is very rewarding. It’s a really rewarding job!

What have you learnt on the job?

I’ve learnt a lot of different skills! Learning that you don’t always get it right the first time, you’re going to mess up quite a bit but as long as you learn from your mistakes and just keep getting better it will all be rewarding in the end because you’ll know what you’re doing.

What do you wish you knew when you left school?

How much work you’ve gotta put in to pay bills and how much work goes into actually being able to manage a balance between work and relaxing – spending time with your family.

What do you like most about working at ETCO/Feisst Electrical?

Good crew, and I’ve already built good relationships with them here – I’ve only been here a little over a month. I find it easy to learn from them, they have a lot of knowledge.

Where would you like to go with your career?

Hopefully be a boss! Maybe one day make my own company.

What does an electrician do?

Electricians commission and maintain electrical systems in homes, commercial buildings, factories, processing plants, and a range of other applications in agriculture, including emerging marine and space technologies.

Etco can help you get into an apprenticeship in two ways:

You can apply for employment as an Etco apprentice and they will support you in all aspects of your apprenticeship and your personal journey.

Etco can help you find employment as an apprentice with an independent employer. If you choose this path, you still come to Etco for your night classes and block course training, and we will visit you and support your on-job learning.

Tips & Advice

What sort of person do you need to be for this work?

Someone who is keen to learn and is able to put in the work. When you start out you’re going to have to do the not so nice jobs, you’ve just got to put your head down and get through it, it turns out all good in the end!

What advice would you give to someone looking at this type of work?
  • Be keen to learn
  • Take everything in from your peers and learn from them
  • Try your best to be on time!
What is the best career advice you’ve ever received?

Probably from my Mum. “Don’t do nothing when you leave school.” Because in year 13 I still didn’t know what I wanted to do, I was still jumping around Uni and Wintec. I didn’t really have a pathway set-up so when the trades programme came up I just took the opportunity and it took me here!

Useful school subjects
  • Maths is a big part of the trade
  • Science – mostly Physics.

About ETCO

Etco is New Zealand’s leading provider of electrical training and apprentices. Etco (the Electrical Training Company) employs apprentices and places them with host companies via our group apprenticeship scheme. We also provide training courses for apprentices and qualified electricians to ensure they are qualified to work in new and emerging fields.

Apprentice training is a combination of on-the-job training through placements with electrical companies and contractors, and off-the-job training. This involves study at home, attending night classes and block courses at one of eight training centres. Apprentices receive extensive instruction, supervision and support throughout all stages of their training which involves a series of assignments, assessments and examinations. 

For more info:

Grab a snapshot of Manaia’s Story