Introducing Shanley, your new Apprentice Leader

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Shanley Downes of Inreay Limited joins the 2024/2025 BCITO Apprentice Leadership Group. Shanley’s partnership with BCITO is part of the next intake of apprentice leaders in the Interior Systems sector, highlighting BCITO’s commitment to empowering and involving apprentices in shaping their learning experiences. The group, initiated in 2023, is a progressive approach to fostering collaboration and communication at the grassroots level within the construction trades.

Shanley’s career journey has been dynamic and fulfilling. From qualifying as an international flight attendant to managing cafes, her path took an unexpected turn when she entered the interior systems sector, inspired by her mother’s legacy in the trades. Introduced to her current employer, Ian Neary, by her mother, Shanley found her true passion in this field, likening it to creating and solving puzzles.

Reaching a milestone in June 2022, Shanley seized the opportunity Ian offered her to embark on an apprenticeship. She believes formal education is crucial for mastering her craft, emphasizing the importance of precision and attention to detail in her work.

Motivated by her own determination, her supportive boss, Ian, and her daughter, Shanley is driven to create a world where gender doesn’t limit one’s pursuits. With her mother as her cheerleader, she navigates challenges with resilience, aiming to change the stigma surrounding women in trades.

As an advocate for gender equality in the trades, Shanley emphasizes the importance of creating safe and inclusive environments for all. She believes that employers play a pivotal role in fostering such environments, and those employing women should be celebrated.

Becoming an Apprentice Leader feels like a natural fit for Shanley, who has always been drawn to leadership roles, even from a young age. Her natural inclination to uplift and support others extends to all beings, including her deaf dog, whom she taught sign language, reflecting her commitment to empowering individuals to be their best selves.

Shanley joins Kurt Barnes of Dreamcoat Plastering Christchurch, the first Interior Systems apprentice leader, as the second voice for apprentices in the Interior Systems sector. They’re part of a dynamic cohort of 30 apprentice leaders, which includes 15 new additions, featuring two representatives from each BCITO-mandated trade.

The structure of the programme, with a term of 24 months and a new cohort recruited every 12 months, ensures a continuous influx of fresh perspectives and ideas.

The emphasis on forming authentic partnerships between leaders, employers, industry, and BCITO is crucial for creating a supportive and effective learning environment.

We’re excited to team up with Shanley! Ready to make some awesome changes to support Interior Systems apprentices.

If you’d like to know more about the apprentice leader programme and how to support it, please contact Verina Jones, Advocate for the Learner Voice.