Wellington-based apprentice Andrew Smith won a Plumbing World Scholarship at the national 2023 New Zealand Plumbing Awards, held at Te Pae Convention Centre in Christchurch on Friday 5 May.

He was nominated by Mike Gooch, director of Glennies Plumbing, who have provided him with excellent on-job training throughout his apprenticeship through Masterlink.

Mike says that he and fellow director Gordon Diggle knew almost straight away that Andrew had what it takes to become an excellent tradesman.

As a student at St. Patrick’s College, Andrew spent one day a week at Glennies through the school’s Gateway programme, before Mike took him on as a plumbing, gasfitting & drainlaying apprentice four years ago.

Mike says Andrew is a quick learner who has become a role model in the past year. “Andrew has impeccable manners and is always eager to help others. He is now setting the standard that all our new apprentices aspire to.”

Mike says Andrew’s “good manners help him excel, especially in the domestic market where we are entering people's homes and helping solve what can be stressful situations for our customers.”

Andrew preparing for a day's work on the Wellington South Coast off-grid house.

Andrew's most recent major achievement has been working on a complex off-grid house on Wellington's South Coast, where he took the lead role liaising with the builder and the homeowner throughout the project.

Andrew explains, “This home challenged me to commission and install a 40,000-litre rainwater collection system, septic tanks and a gasification unit which heats the domestic hot water and radiator system to provide comfort to the home which is completely isolated.”

Andrew says he is fortunate to be working at Glennies because of the vast variety of work the company carries out and the opportunities he has had to grow his skills.

It means a great deal to me to be able to help customers and fix issues that may not be straight forward. Providing customers with solutions to their problems and making their life easier is why I enjoy being a plumber and I am grateful to be doing it as job.

- Andrew Smith

Last year, Andrew was profiled in Leaving School magazine promoting plumbing apprenticeships to school leavers.

Earlier this year, he won a Masterlink Outward Bound Scholarship and will be participating in a 16-day leadership course for construction industry apprentices in June/July.

Masterlink Regional Manager Bob McCoy, who has mentored Andrew throughout his apprenticeship, had no hesitation in supporting Andrew’s nomination for this year’s awards.

“Andrew is an outstanding apprentice who has presented me with no issues or challenges since he started his apprenticeship in January 2019.”

At 22-years-old, Andrew is now in the fifth and final year of his apprenticeship. He has successfully passed his first set of tradesman exams and is already planning his Certifying ones, says Mike.

“Andrew is now thinking of how the business runs and how he can best plan things with that in mind. Both Gordon and I are extremely proud of him.”

Andrew wins a certificate and $1000 to spend at his local Plumbing World branch.

Mike Gooch_Andrew Smith_Bob McCoy
Mike Gooch, Andrew Smith and Bob McCoy

About Plumbing World Scholarships

Plumbing World Scholarships are awarded to Masterlink apprentices who have demonstrated diligence in their studies and a passion for the industry.

About the New Zealand Plumbing Awards

The New Zealand Plumbing Awards acknowledge the many positive achievements and success stories in the plumbing, gasfitting, and drainlaying industry. They are presented at a gala dinner on the final night of the annual New Zealand Plumbing Conference. Organised by Master Plumbers, the national conference has been held for over 100 years and is the premier event in the industry, with attendees coming from all over the country.

About Master Plumbers

Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers NZ Inc (Master Plumbers) is the national membership organisation for plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying businesses, with 18 regional Associations and Branches across New Zealand. Companies go through a Quality Assurance programme to become a member. Members are provided with a wide range of resources and training opportunities to support them in staying up to date with the latest technologies, products, and compliance requirements. Master Plumbers advocates on behalf of members and the wider plumbing industry. The association organises the annual New Zealand Plumbing Conference culminating in the prestigious New Zealand Plumbing Awards, which recognise excellence in the industry.