Basil Carpenter had nearly completed a degree when he decided he wanted to get a trade instead.
The decision to leave before he completed his Bachelor of Business majoring in accounting and project management was a big decision at the time. But as he nears the end of his five-year plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying apprenticeship, he has no regrets.
“On one of my summer breaks at uni, I went and worked for one of my dad’s clients who has a farm out in Pukekohe. I realised that I was going to be much happier working with my hands and getting a job that has critical thinking in that field, rather than in an office,” says Basil.
“I had worked in an office before, and it was not that enjoyable for me. I’ve got dyslexia so sitting in an office is not so good for me compared to being outside.”
Each time you have to go about solving the problem a different way than you have in the past. I find that quite enjoyable and there is good variation of work, so I am not doing the same thing over and over again. That’s what I love about plumbing.
Basil works for McDermond P&G Solutions in Auckland with his apprenticeship organised through Masterlink.
“I am in maintenance and renovations work with plenty of critical thinking and no two jobs are the same. Each time you have to go about solving the problem a different way than you have in the past.
“I find that quite enjoyable and there is good variation of work, so I am not doing the same thing over and over again. That’s what I love about plumbing.”
In July, Basil was one of 10 Masterlink apprentices to win a fully funded 16-day Masterlink Outward Bound Leadership Course Scholarship.
“Honestly that was amazing. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life and was also the best thing I have ever had to do in my life. The one thing I took the most from it was how it teaches you resilience. For me, it was quite nice to reinforce leadership stuff I have done in the past.
“Masterlink have been very helpful from the start. They gave me some tools to begin with [that] I can use in the plumbing trade and helped me out with a host company.”
Basil attended King’s College in Auckland. In Year 13, he took Technology, English, Economics and PE.
“For any high school to be looked at as good, it is all about university entrance. At the time I decided to go to university to do my degree, I was not sure what I wanted to do.
“If I can give a recommendation to anyone, it would be to take as many subjects as you can and then find out what you want to do. Take a break, get some work experience, just get out of your comfort zone.”
The trades are booming at the moment with plenty of vacancies and endless opportunities in the future. Basil says school leavers should consider their options.
“Do your research on what you want to do, find a good company that has good variety of work and don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
This article, written by Peter White, first appeared in Leaving School magazine Issue #25