By JOHN SON
Not too long ago, Rauna Hohaia was working hard through his electrical and switchgear apprenticeships.
Now he’s a factory manager at BREMCA, the largest New Zealand owned and operated switchboard manufacturer.
Rauna admits he started his career “just looking for a job”, but it didn’t take long to find the career drive he needed. He says his supervisor, George Tupa’i (sales/design engineer at BREMCA), was a particular source of motivation.
“Seeing George’s skill level was a huge inspiration. He just makes things happen,” Rauna recalls.
In his role as factory manager, Rauna is now certainly making things happen too. His typical day involves switching back and forth between his own work and going over all the apprentices’ and other factory workers’ jobs.
He’s also constantly on hand to answer the apprentices’ questions – an important task, as he now has a responsibility to mentor the next generation.
“Now that I’ve finished my apprenticeship and am on the other side, I can see the value in doing it,” he says.
“An apprenticeship in the electrical industry is great. The best thing is that you get a qualification for life. You can’t go wrong now, you’re set for life – it’s what I always tell the boys.”
Rauna adds that a switchgear apprenticeship isn’t just about learning technical skills, such as working with busbars and reading diagrams. During his studies, he’s also learnt valuable life skills.
“I’ve gained people skills and my confidence got a huge boost. I used to be a bit of a shy dude, but going on site and meeting people has taught me how to talk more confidently,” he says.
However, he does point out that it wasn’t always smooth sailing at times.
“To be honest, I was a bit lazy and complacent at times with my apprenticeship. But the guys at The Skills Organisation always stuck by me and encouraged me to get it done,” he says.
“They taught me how to just make it happen for myself – I don’t think I would have finished without them.”
Despite already making huge steps in his career, Rauna is currently looking towards his next goals. He is aiming to become an electrical inspector next, which will involve another two years of study.
“Just go for it 100%, it’s definitely worth it in the end,” he tells young Maori and Pasifika youths who may be considering an apprenticeship.
“Don’t waste your time or muck around like I did – life’s too short for that!”