Painting the picture perfect career
Growing up in Palmerston North with family roots from the Puniho Marae, Taranaki and Otago during the gold rush, Jackson Ruakere was blessed with artistic talent.
“At school I loved painting, and considered doing an arts degree at uni. I was also into woodwork and played rugby. It seems like an odd mix and I wanted to use them in a career I was passionate about,” he says.
Currently two years into a plumbing and gasfitting apprenticeship with Vince Basile Plumbing Co Ltd in Palmerston North, 20 year old Jackson is confident that he has combined his interests into a career with great potential.
“Doing The Skills Organisation’s Gateway program at St Peter’s College helped me with the decision in a big way. The work experience showed me I could use my love for problem solving and using my hands to make a good income,” he says.
In Jackson’s case, loving what you do shines through with the calibre of your work.
“I placed 4th in the WorldSkills national competition for plumbers in 2014 and won a Plumbing World scholarship in 2015 for outstanding performance as a Masterlink apprentice.
“At school I feared being chained to a desk. Now I know there are excellent opportunities for employment without pursuing a uni degree.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity and love having a trade. It sets you up for life,” he says.
Jackson says the hardest thing about being an apprentice is being able to stay calm under pressure and get the job done.
“Sometimes you have to trust yourself and know you will make mistakes in the beginning and that’s ok.
“I get a lot of support through Masterlink, my manager Vince and my account manager Terri Waerea from The Skills Organisation which makes it easier,” he says.
The life of a plumbing and gasfitting apprentice opens a lot of doors.
“The opportunities are endless. A trade can take me anywhere, I will have the opportunity to work in countries overseas if I choose to,” he says.
At the root of Jackson’s career choice is the drive to get somewhere with his life.
“Commit and see it through. It’s worth it in the end. I’m proud to be a tradesperson.”