Four years on he is excelling and has been invited to attend the Future Business Leader’s Forum as part of GOT A TRADE WEEK 2017.
“I just needed a job where I could do something I was proud of, I had no idea that I’d develop a passion for the trade or that I’d become really good at something I love doing each day,” says Rikki. “Bryce gave me a chance and hired me and at first he put up with my adolescent persona. Then he trained me for the next three years and now I’ve got three qualifications and am studying towards my fourth.
“Last year I was selected to represent Atlas in the New Zealand Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries (AWCI) competition and a turning point in my career was when I won first place. I felt amazing, ‘I can be great!’ I said to myself and I became focussed on setting my sights even higher.
“It was as if I had discovered a whole new me and I went on to enter the AWCI Australasian competition in Darwin. When it was announced that I was the overall winner of that competition I had no idea what had just happened. ‘Me?’ I thought, ‘how is this even possible?’ Straight after I walked off the stage I called Bryce [Bryce Clifford, Atlas Fibrous Plasterers, Rikki’s employer] and the guys and thanked them for backing me, I couldn’t have got there without their support.
“My future career goals are very clear now. I want to be a success, not just financially, but also to be happy, focussed, and knowledgeable but most importantly to help as many other people as I can to get into a trade like me.
“I’ve got a great job and a happy life and to be able to show other young people what this is like, help recruit new apprentices and train them are all high priorities on my agenda. If I work hard, stay focused and help my peers along their journey to success, I’ll be rewarded with the satisfaction that I’ve made a difference, not only to the individuals but to industry as well.
“My Fiancé and I have just purchased our first home together this year. We’re looking forward to redesigning the property and can do so thanks to my trade and my training. Our future family will be well provided for thanks to the training I have received at Atlas.
“I wake up in the morning proud and eager to give my best efforts and professionalism to the job at hand. The training I have received has molded me into a driven tradesman who would like nothing more than to further my success and the successes of those around me.”
Rikki says he wasn’t born a leader but he’s grown into one thanks to being in a trade apprenticeship and the opportunities this has opened up for him. “It’s given me the opportunity to grow into a strong leader and I know I can achieve anything - whether it’s successfully managing a project at a high-end architecturally designed build or organising a fun event for the team as Atlas’s Social Club President,” says Rikki. Bryce Clifford, sums it all up, “Rikki’s future? – The world’s his oyster! He’s come a long way from when he first walked in the door four years ago and I have every confidence that he’ll achieve even more in the future.”
Find out more about GOT A TRADE WEEK happening 21-27 August 2017.
Unga Funoa’s interest in carpentry began as a young boy in Tonga.
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