Civil Trades: meet the graduates

Richard Leach of Higgins Contractors and Ross McLaren of Andrew Haulage  are the 7th and 8th New Zealanders to become Civil Trades Certified.

 Richard Leach, Higgins ContractorsRichard-Leach

Richard is a much respected member of the Higgins team and has worked for the company for 23 years. He started out in Wellington as a labourer and has progressed to his current role as Operations Supervisor.

Richard is responsible for liaising with project managers and assigning resources to meet client needs, recruitment, training and health and safety. He is also involved in programming the work for the Wellington region. Richard’s team coordinates the daily logistics of the 75 staff working at the branch.

For Richard, the best part of his role is completing a contract under time and budget. He also enjoys watching a job progress from start to completion, and gets real satisfaction from getting the day to day logistics running like clockwork. Richard is also a people person and he thrives on working as part of a team. He gets a real buzz from training new employees and watching them grow into leaders.

A true passion for the Industry and giving 100% in whatever he does has helped Richard get where he is today. He has done various courses over the years, but says that nothing compares to practical experience. Richard is a strong advocate for Civil Trades because he believes there is a huge demand for a qualification based on practical experience instead of book-based knowledge.

Higgins will be rolling out Civil Trades across the wider organisation in the coming months. Higgins Group Support Manager (and Civil Trades Board member) John Bryant explains, “Detailed information has been sent to Higgins regional operations. Over the next few months each of these teams will actively promote the details of the qualification process to staff in conjunction with Connexis. This will enable them to identify the most suitable qualification pathway for each person.”

Ross McLaren, Andrew HaulageRoss_McLaren_APPROVED

Ross McLaren is an operator and foreman at Andrew Haulage – a South Otago based contracting business servicing Otago and Southland. He is responsible for running projects ranging from earthworks and excavation to general and forestry roading, trenching, drainage and culverts, to land excavation.

On a day to day basis, Ross’s role involves overseeing operations on site and is very people-focused. He works closely with the project managers and clients, and manages relationships with the general public. He is also responsible for training new staff on plant and machinery.

Ross has been with Andrew Haulage for 15 years. As a teen finishing school he started out as a fitter/welder for a Balclutha based company before applying for two positions with another company; a fitter/welder and the other as a labourer. Ross took on both roles where he excelled and this led to his being trained as a as a machine operator. During his time at Andrew Haulage Ross has gradually expanded his skills over the years. Ross started out on trenching jobs, before branching out and gaining experience in a huge variety of civil projects.

A lifetime of listening and learning and over 40,000 hours machine operating has taken Ross to where he is today. He feels that you never stop learning if that’s what you want to do. Ross enjoys the Civil Infrastructure Industry and he feels it’s a great place to work. The thing he enjoys most about the industry is the people, whether workmates, clients or customers. He sees a lot of new faces and meets a lot of new people. Ross also thrives on being outdoors, working with machinery and facing new challenges. Every job is different and requires a different approach.

Despite years of experience, this is the first trade qualification Ross has achieved. He sees it as a way to better himself, and to gain recognition of his skills and knowledge. Becoming a Certified Civil Tradesperson has given him a real sense of achievement.

Colin Calteaux the Managing Director of Andrew Haulage believes that Civil Trades will be of great benefit to the industry. He says, “Providing a recognised trade will give people something to work towards and will encourage them to enter and stay in the industry. We were very supportive of Ross going through the programme as it gave him recognition of the high standards he works to. It has also given our more junior members of our staff with something to aspire to.”

 

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