Winner Ben Sifleet with Etco CEO Jeremy Sole
Top winners at the Engineering Taranaki Consortium Awards

Ben Sifleet and Lachlan Senwick both made a big switch in their lives, to take up electrical apprenticeships – and they haven’t looked back.

Former police officer Ben, 30, and former psychology and statistics student Lachlan, 23, both from New Plymouth, were among the top winners at the Engineering Taranaki Consortium Apprenticeship Awards. They were among five Electrical Training Company apprentices, all hosted by Taranaki Electrical Ltd (TEL), who took home honours.

Ben, who won first place in the Senior Commercial Electrical category, spent nine years with Police. “I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t something I wanted to do for ever and I have a young family and was keen to do something with more regular hours,” he said. “I chose the electrical sector because there is so much range within the trade. I enjoy the fact that there’s something different to do every day and there are so many options for the future, from working in different electrical fields to running your own business if you want to.”

Lachlan won this year’s Open Domestic Electrical award, having carried off the Junior Commercial category last year. “I was very science-focused at school and went to Victoria University, but university wasn’t really for me and I ended up coming home to New Plymouth,” he said. “I knew Peter Walsh, the Managing Director of TEL, and asked if he had any opportunities. “I spent three months on a trade placement with them and enjoyed it so much that I applied for an apprenticeship with the Electrical Training Company. I love it and I find the hands-on learning aspect of the apprenticeship really works for me.”

Ben and Lachlan each won a trophy and $500 in prize money, while Lachlan also won a $250 ‘shout out’ morning tea for his colleagues for making the best acceptance speech of the evening.

Electrical Training Company apprentices who also chalked up successes were: John Shepherd as runner up in the Senior Commercial Electrical class; Jack Limmer in third place in Open Domestic and Liam Bernet in third place in Senior Industrial Electrical. All entrants had to provide a detailed written report of a project they had taken part in, including photographs, supported by their CV, training reports and an assessment from their trainer and employer.

Nigel Chantler, the Electrical Training Company’s Apprentice Coordinator for Taranaki, Whanganui and Manawatu, said: “All these apprentices show extraordinary ability in class and put a huge amount into their work - so it is very good to see then recognised in this way.”

Lachlan Fenwick
Fellow Award winner Lachlan Fenwick