The Girls at A1 - going the extra mile

The team at A1 Kiwi Cutters & Drillers, Auckland, is quite unique within the concrete industry. They’ve been in business for 10 years undertaking residential and commercial projects. These range from small residential expansion cutting to big projects such as St Lukes Bridge Removal, Fletchers Fonterra and Kalmar Sugartree.

Girls at A1

Penny Simons and Janine Douglas, who run the business together, believe their uniqueness is that the company is effectively run by the two women who take the calls and book and distribute the jobs. The big difference though is that these two also know how to use the tools themselves!

Penny and Janine were both trained by Mark Simons, the other company director. Mark is Penny’s husband and he’s been concrete cutting for 33 years in England and NZ. Mark has an active role in training current apprentices.

A1 Kiwi Cutters & Drillers are avid supporters of industry training and hope to be one of the first cutting and drilling firms in New Zealand where all employees have completed a nationally recognised concrete qualification.

They’ve recently signed up all unqualified staff. They’re leaders in the culture of training and gaining qualifications, and are pleased when they see other businesses get on board with industry training. “When the cutter/driller is recognised as a qualified person, they become more confident in their work and also feel respected within the company,” says Penny. “Customers these days are savvy and want to know what qualifications your staff have. It’s easier to sell your services when you can prove your people are qualified to nationally recognised standards. It’s one of the best selling points we have.”

“A lot of concrete cutters aren’t even aware that qualifications for their specific trade are available. We want to help get the word out so that our industry is seen as a real profession,” Janine says. “We feel really good about training our staff – it provides the individual with much more opportunities for their future career, as well as being good for our business.”

“We train our people and our BCITO Training Advisor comes to visit every now and then to make sure every apprentice is on track. He’s really good at communicating with everyone and understanding our trade,” says Penny.

team at A1

Within the business, Penny and Janine have helped between 8 and 12 apprentices become qualified in cutting and drilling and currently have 5 who are part way through their training. “Training our staff with BCITO helps grow our business. New employees are eager to come on board with us when they find out they’re going to get a qualification, as well as getting paid to come to work each day. It may also be that, in the near future, certain customers will only allow companies who have qualified staff to work on their site. That’s when we’ll reap the most benefit from investing in training now. We’re future-proofing our business through industry training,” Janine says.

Find out more about BCITO’s programmes for concrete cutters and drillers.

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