Barry Robinson
Chairman of the Maintenance Engineering Society of New Zealand (MESNZ) and General Manager of SAFE Engineering  

Barry Robinson has trained dozens of apprentices throughout his career and says it’s vital for the future of the engineering industry. 

“One of the biggest challenges facing engineering firms is making sure there are enough good people coming through the pipeline. And my question to businesses facing that challenge is, are you training people?

“If you’re not training people do you expect other people to train your staff? You’ve got to grow them, they’re not going to grow on trees.”

Barry helped Competenz review the previous engineering qualifications and create the New Zealand Certificates to ensure they are fit for purpose, now and in the future.

“It’s such an exciting time for young people now. Because we’re so short of engineers and will be for some time, the opportunities for apprentices are boundless.”

And you have to give them opportunities to prove themselves, Barry says. He recently spent time overseas, leaving his apprentice in charge of the workshop.

“He did a great job. In the old days things were very hierarchical – you started as an apprentice, then became a tradesman and had to work your way up the ladder. But it wouldn’t surprise anyone now if you were an apprentice and in four years’ time you were the CEO.

“As long as you’ve got a good attitude and you’re curious, you’ll do well.”