Exploring New Zealand’s North Island right from the bottom to the top is only a perk on the side for Connor Deeley, a Roofing Apprentice working at Turfrey. Not only has he been able to visit parts of the country he never thought of visiting before, he isn’t tied to a desk and is gaining the knowledge and expertise to one day achieve his dream – owning his own company.

Connor always knew he wanted to work in a trade and at 17 left school with NCEA Level 2. The Palmerston North apprentice decided not to stay another year as he knew that university entry wasn’t on his agenda. “I always wanted to do a trade, you know something outdoors,” Connor explains, “I was offered a trial at Turfrey and I enjoyed the physical work and not being stuck in the same place all the time.”

Five years on and Connor has completed two roofing qualifications in his roofing apprenticeship, Metal Roof and Wall Cladding as well as Membrane, and is about to finish his third, Metal Roof Tiles. But he’s not stopping at three, “My plan is to work through all the qualifications and be qualified in everything. My dream one day is to own my own roofing business and I want to have that expertise behind me,” Connor says.

“With completing an apprenticeship, you’re learning the best guides and practices that the roofing industry want you to have,” Connor says and adds:

“Personally, I think being qualified does make a difference. It looks a lot better on your CV as employers can see that you’re qualified, otherwise they’re just going off your experience. Having both the qualifications and the experience is always going to be better. You’ll have both boxes ticked.”

Tackling all seven strands of the roofing apprenticeship isn’t necessary or for the faint-hearted but as Connor puts it, if you enjoy it, why not? “You have to be self-motivated to complete an apprenticeship, but it’s important that you enjoy doing it because if you do you’ll have goals that you set yourself and your willingness to learn will show.”

Showing the initiative to want to learn is key but having a company that supports and encourages you to continue to grow is worth its weight in gold. With Turfrey, Connor has been able to travel across the North Island, as well as learn from overseas companies. “I never thought I would be going to America for my job, one of my bosses rang me up and offered it to me as a reward for doing well in my apprenticeship and becoming qualified, and of course I was keen as to go!” Connor says.

“Turfrey is a great company to work for, they’re family-orientated and really try their best to look after their staff. They also specialise in multiple trades, including roofing, plumbing, gas fitting and drain laying, so there’s always plenty of options further down in your career.”

Turfrey’s primary focus for roofing is commercial, completing some of the biggest jobs in the southern hemisphere. So, when it came to 2018 RANZ Conference Roofing Games, with residential-based challenges, Connor never thought he would actually enter. “I have always wanted to do more residential work, but I have done less than five residential roofs since joining the company. I thought I’d give the Roofing Games a good crack and was surprised at how well I did, I was pretty stoked, it was unreal!” he exclaims.

Out of 350 roofers competing nation-wide, Connor won 1st place for North Island Intermediate and 2nd place for New Zealand. The participants completed timed challenges and were scored on the tidiness of their work, site cleanliness, and health and safety.

It’s evident that Connor is in his element when it comes to roofing. He wants others to look into roofing as a career as there’s more to it than just having a tough exterior. “Roofing is a great career choice for pretty much anyone and if you’re unsure about what you want to do, I would say to just give it a go. There are a lot of opportunities in roofing that you don’t know about until you’re in the industry and realise how much is actually involved.”