Sparky Joshua is his own boss at age 21

Hamilton News - - NEWS -

Hamil­ton’s Joshua Phillips com­pleted his elec­tri­cal ap­pren­tice­ship a month ago. He started his own busi­ness two days be­fore turn­ing 21, and has now been named New Zealand’s top in­de­pen­dent ter­tiary stu­dent.

The for­mer Elec­tri­cal Training Com­pany (Etco) ap­pren­tice scooped the In­de­pen­dent Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion New Zealand (ITENZ) Do­mes­tic Stu­dent of the Year ti­tle at the awards event in Hamil­ton ear­lier this month.

Joshua said he had been de­lighted to be a fi­nal­ist but was sur­prised to win the award, or­gan­ised by the Qual­ity Com­mis­sion to recog­nise ex­cel­lence across the in­de­pen­dent ter­tiary sec­tor.

“It’s very cool for a sparky to win an award like this,” said Joshua. “Es­pe­cially con­sid­er­ing it is for stu­dents in any sec­tor of in­dus­try.” Joshua left Hill­crest High School at the end of Year 12 to take up his four-year ap­pren­tice­ship with Etco, New Zealand’s lead­ing provider of elec­tri­cal ap­pren­tices.

His training com­bined block re­lease cour­ses with on-the-job learn­ing with a host com­pany in Hamil­ton. He worked mainly on ru­ral pro­jects, in­clud­ing wiring cat­tlesheds and ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tems. Now he is busy with his own busi­ness, Fu­sion Con­trol Sys­tems, work­ing on ru­ral and light in­dus­trial and com­mer­cial elec­tri­cal pro­jects.

Dur­ing his ap­pren­tice­ship, which he com­pleted last month, he was named Etco Ap­pren­tice of the Year for 2017 and was also among 12 high-achiev­ing ap­pren­tices se­lected for a Fu­ture Lead­ers pro­gramme, in­clud­ing busi­ness and lead­er­ship training.

Joshua’s ITENZ ci­ta­tion praised his com­mit­ment, lead­er­ship abil­ity and ded­i­ca­tion to learn­ing, not­ing: “He con­sis­tently goes above and be­yond in his learn­ing and his work for clients and he pushes the bound­aries of his study. He has dis­played ex­cel­lence, ma­tu­rity and de­ter­mi­na­tion with an ex­cep­tional ded­i­ca­tion to learn­ing un­der all cir­cum­stances”.

Joshua said he had learned about Etco from his ca­reers ad­vi­sor at school.

“My school ran a pro­gramme to give you a taste of dif­fer­ent trades. I tried build­ing, plumb­ing and elec­tri­cal and en­joyed the elec­tri­cal — be­cause of its com­plex­ity,” he said.

“I gained amaz­ing across-the-board ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing my ap­pren­tice­ship. As an ap­pren­tice, your friends might be earn­ing more than you — but I kept the big pic­ture in mind. I have no stu­dent debt. My training’s been paid for, I’ve been given amaz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties — and now I’m my own boss in a sought-af­ter pro­fes­sion.

Etco’s Na­tional Learn­ing Sup­port Of­fi­cer David Barnes was also named ITENZ Tu­tor of the Year and won the over­all Supreme Award.

To be­come an Etco ap­pren­tice, you need Level Two NCEA eight cred­its (or more in each sub­ject) in maths, English and sci­ence (prefer­ably an in­dus­try-re­lated sci­ence. You also need at least a re­stricted man­ual driv­ers’ li­cence and a car, at least New Zealand res­i­dency and good colour vi­sion.

Photo / Sup­plied

Joshua Phillips, 21, named the In­de­pen­dent Ter­tiary Ed­u­ca­tion New Zealand (ITENZ) Do­mes­tic Stu­dent of the Year.

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