Determination wins top industry award


chris bayliss plumber skills case studies featuredSometimes you don’t always get things the first time you try for them. The measure of character is how you handle the loss.

Chris Baylis from Houghton’s Plumbing, Heating & Gas in Hawera was knocked back for his dream apprenticeship straight out of school when the spot he wanted was already filled.

But he didn’t let it stop him. He kept trying and was accepted into his plumbing and gasfitting apprenticeship in August 2011 and is due to finish this July.

“I left school and applied at a few plumbing places but was a little too late so I took up plastering.

“I knew plumbing was what I wanted to do after doing the Gateway programme of three months’ work experience while I was at school.

“I kept my chin up and after about a year, I got a call from Houghton’s to come in for an interview,” says Chris.

Houghton’s Managing Director, Glenice Houghton says she had remembered Chris from his earlier application.

“He has a truly memorable personality, he is friendly and while it was a shame we couldn’t take him on first time around we were thrilled to be able to offer him the opportunity when it came up.

“He had the right attitude and we knew he would be an asset to the team, and I think given his recent award we were proved absolutely correct,” she says.

The award mentioned is one of the most prestigious in his industry - The James Douglas Medallion recognising top achieving apprentices.

The best of the best compete through a nominations process based on marks and practical performance in their apprenticeships.

Receiving the award at this year’s Master Plumbers Awards in March 2015 Chris says he was stoked to have won the prize.

chris bayliss plumber skills case studies featured2“My family and friends are really proud of what I’ve achieved. It’s great to be able to celebrate this success in my career. My prize money has given me the opportunity to assist with getting my private pilot’s licence and the scholarship will go towards my drainlaying qualification,” he says.

Glenice says the team at Houghton’s was thrilled when Chris was announced the winner of the James Douglas Medallion.

“He worked really hard to achieve top results all the way through his apprenticeship and he deserves this recognition.

“Chris demonstrates everything we like to see in apprentices – drive, focus, and a dedication to contributing to the industry.”

It doesn’t stop there though. The life of an apprentice means continually facing new challenges, growing and learning both on the job and at home. With his new skillset, Chris has fitted out his girlfriend’s beauty salon in addition to general maintenance at home for family.

“I’m pretty self-driven and I like to push my limits,” says Chris.

“That’s what makes him a top apprentice,” says Glenice.


The sky is the limit for Chris’s career with his attitude and the invaluable experience he’s currently gaining on the job.