Tripping the light fantastic
As she sat in classes in the final year of her business degree Courtney Brown (Ngāti Kahu) knew she wasn’t where she wanted to be. The thought of being in an office, staring at a computer all day filled her with an impending sense of doom.
In a leap of faith Courtney decided to change fields entirely.
“At 22 years old I don’t want to be moulding away in a corner office pushing paper. I want to feel like I am actually accomplishing something, seeing a tangible result from a day’s work – rather than just more paper,” she says.
After finding work experience with Auckland based company CKG Electrical it didn’t take her long to realise going into an electrical apprenticeship was what she really wanted to do.
“I feel blessed actually. I can use my business degree to help Craig (CKG Electrical owner/operator) with the admin side of his business while at the same time I’m getting to spend everyday taking on new and exciting challenges.
“I get to work on really cool sites, doing things like installing cutting-edge electrical technology.
“My dad was a massive influence when it came to deciding what trade I wanted to go into. He’s worked for North Power for years and has enjoyed it. He has a great work ethic and really encouraged me to be a self sufficient woman in a typically male dominated industry.
“A big thing for me was to not accumulate any more debt from learning. Uni did enough of that for me, so being able to get into an apprenticeship, helped by Craig and The Skills Organisation was a great solution,” she says.
That’s not to say her choice has been an easy one. The work can be challenging in confined spaces, hot weather in summer and working with heavy power tools.
“Working with heavy equipment overhead is my biggest challenge but that doesn’t stop me. It’s just something I need to practice and build some strength for. The only thing I would have changed about my decision though, is I would have skipped uni altogether and pursued this from the start,” says Courtney.
CKG Electrical owner Craig Kilby says the industry is changing with new technology but Courtney is a great listener and picks up things really fast.
“She has a great attitude and will always ask questions to make sure we get the job done properly. I’m lucky to have her on board.
“Courtney is interested and engaged in learning all the new technology coming into the market. There won’t be a shortage of work as the industry grows and having keen young workers is a benefit to not only the industry but NZ Inc as a whole,” he says.
Courtney says mindset is the biggest factor to success.
“Saying or thinking you can’t do something is the only thing stopping you from doing it.
“After starting my apprenticeship, I started doing things I could never do before like fix the lighting in my bathroom and build a rabbit hutch with my knowledge of power tools.
“I aim to keep practicing and exceeding my own expectations. I love learning and I think one day I’d love to either be business partners with Craig or create a special niche market electrical company. It’s great to have so many options,” she says.
One thing is clear and bright and that is Courtney’s future as she continues on her path to becoming a qualified electrician.