Rising Through the Ranks

Krishneel (Kris) first started at Porter Mechanical in Canterbury as a car groomer. It wasn’t long before South Island Production Manager, Duane, observed Kris’s dedication to his work and thought he would be a great candidate for an apprenticeship.

"I saw the capabilities of what he’s got,” Duane says of Kris. “I thought to myself, he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life cleaning and grooming, so I asked if he’d be willing to complete an apprenticeship. And now, two years down the line, he’s almost completed his training."

Duane (right) handing Kris his Apprentice of the Year award.

Kris moved to New Zealand 11 years ago to be with his family. “I’m from Fiji originally. Back at home, I worked with cars too. When they offered me an apprenticeship here, I thought I’d try it and ended up really liking it.”

Kris is currently completing the New Zealand Certificate in Heavy Automotive Engineering (Level 3 and 4) in the Plant and Equipment strand, which is designed for those working on repairing and servicing heavy plant and equipment, including construction, off-road and earth-moving machinery.

Kris has excelled at Porter Mechanical and in the MITO programme, even winning the Porter Group Apprentice of the Year award in 2023. “I feel very proud of myself,” says Kris of his win.

Duane is committed to hiring, training, and recognising the work of apprentices. He says, “I'm waiting on Porter’s to let us know if we can take on more apprentices right now! It’s very important to hire apprentices and train them up.”

Duane praises Kris’ work, saying, "I can leave him alone and he gets the jobs done. His work ethic is to a high standard. He’s really reliable and takes ownership of his tasks.”

Reflecting on his daily routine, Kris describes the variety of tasks he encounters, from standard servicing to more complex jobs. "The best part of it is the knowledge and skills of my boss and the others around me. We get to work on some interesting stuff. It’s a good place to learn," Kris shares.

Kris approves of his MITO programme, saying, “It’s nearly coming to an end, but MITO’s been really good. My Training Advisor Lisa was very helpful.”

The support from more experienced apprentices has also been beneficial for Kris. “When I started, some of the other guys were going through or had been through MITO programmes and explained to me how it works, which was helpful.”

When asked about MITO and the programme, Duane expressed his belief in its effectiveness and adaptability going into the future. "I definitely do think it's a good programme. It teaches a lot about the job itself, but also focuses on computer skills as well," he explained.

Planning for the future, Kris is contemplating further training. “After I finish my level four, I might take a wee break first, but Level 5 just came out - I might try to do that next!”

Read more about the New Zealand Certificate in Heavy Automotive Engineering (Level 5) here.

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