When a previously undetected hearing loss changed Abbey Meiritz Reid’s plans to join the Air Force, the Christchurch 23-year-old was forced to reconsider her career options.
After a stint working in retail after she left school with a strong foundation in maths and physics, Abbey began to consider a career in trades. She dipped her toe in with a pre-trade course with the aim of becoming an electrician.
During that course, Abbey’s tutor suggested she might be more interested in training in the supply and distribution side of the electrical supply industry. Two years on Abbey is now a thriving trainee electrical fitter for Connetics in Christchurch, and was named Distribution Trainee of the Year, and overall Trainee of the Year at the recent industry Excellence Awards, hosted by Connexis ⃒ Te Pūkenga.
“At the time it was a bit of a shame I didn’t get into the Air Force, but I think it turned out pretty well in the end,” she says.
“I knew I really wanted an outdoor job. It’s hard to pin down what I love most about what I do now, because I really love it all, but I think I particularly like the problem solving and methodical aspects of my job.”
“When I was talking to people finding out more about what was involved in this side of the industry it just seemed like it offered a bit more of a challenge, and I really liked the sound of that.”
Electrical fitter is not a job most people know about, Abbey says, adding she’s often explaining to people that it’s quite different to being “a domestic sparky”.
“There’s a lot more variety in this industry than most people realise. This isn’t about working for individuals at their home, this is more about working for the whole region.”
When it comes to her training, Abbey says she particularly enjoys understanding how different what ESI roles do and how they all work together on different parts of a job.
“I enjoy learning as much as I can about each aspect of what I do. There are so many layers of jobs throughout each department that all have to work together. I like understanding why we’re doing our bit as electrical fitters, and then seeing how that relates to what everyone else brings to it.
Abbey has become a vocal champion for jobs in the ESI sector, spreading the word among friends and family. For those considering a trade but concerned about the training she says: “There are so many people around that will help you, it’s not as daunting as it might seem when you’re imagining doing it all yourself.
“I just want to keep going, keep training and keep looking for the next challenge.”