Next Generation - Taste for the trades

Wednesday 18th of December 2019
plumbing gasfitting drainlaying apprentice

By working at his local Mico branch in Albany, Breyton Lenee has gained good knowledge of plumbing products and their uses—giving him a head start for entering a plumbing apprenticeship. 

Twenty-year-old Breyton Lenee has just completed a six-month contract as a Mico Cadet, getting solid work experience at the Mico Albany branch before entering a plumbing apprenticeship through the Master Plumbers-owned Masterlink apprentice management company.

Breyton Mico cadet

Learning the basics

He is the first to undertake a cadetship in this new initiative between Masterlink and Mico, designed to give motivated candidates a taste for the trades and get some work experience under their belts. This, in turn, makes them a more attractive prospect to host plumbing businesses looking for work-ready apprentices.

Having done a year at uni, Breyton realised he was more suited to physical work and a friend suggested he approach Masterlink for a plumbing apprenticeship. The cadetship has been a great way to get familiar with the industry before starting his training, he says. “My five-year plan is to get qualified in plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying and this has been very good for learning all the basics of what the products are and what they’re used for.”

“Mico is a great supporter of supporting the trades,” says Mico Hub Manager Stuart Ryan, who manages seven branches in the Auckland region, including Albany. “This has given Breyton a great start for whoever takes him on as an apprentice.”

An ex-plumber himself, Stuart knows how important it is for plumbing bosses to have a new apprentice who knows what to do when asked to grab a length of 100 mm waste pipe or a crox nut. “Breyton now understands the trade terminology and has grown in confidence tenfold,” he says. “We have given him experience across all that we do, from picking and packing orders to dealing with customers, serving on the counter, deliveries to large sites and handling inward goods.”

Breyton says he particularly enjoys the inwards goods work, checking off all items as they arrive and sorting orders, whether for client delivery or stock.

Breyton Mico 1

Confident team player

When he started at the branch, he hadn’t had experience of working in a team environment. “There are 15 of us at the Albany branch, and we make sure all our people have the support resources they need to learn new roles and new products,” says Stuart. “Having worked here, Breyton now has the confidence to engage with people of all ages and to talk to customers about products.”

Masterlink Auckland and Northland Regional Manager Tania Forsyth saw Breyton’s potential from “day dot”, when she interviewed him as a Masterlink candidate. “He’s an impressive young man—intelligent and interested in the work he does,” says Tania, who tracked his progress throughout his Mico cadetship.

Breyton, who was born in South Africa and came to Auckland at the age of eight, is heading back on a family trip in December to visit relatives, and looks forward to starting his apprenticeship on his return.

If you would like to become a Masterlink host and meet with Tania and Breyton to discuss a 2020 apprenticeship start, please contact Tania Forsyth on 027 558 5441 or email:


This blog has been adapted from an article in NZ Plumber magazine, Dec-Jan 2019 issue.