Water’s a winner for Abby

Martin Svehla News, Water

For New Plymouth District Council water technician Abby Rawlinson being able to earn while she trained as an apprentice has been an important part of her road to becoming qualified.

Abby completed her NZ Certificate in Water Treatment (Level 4) in 2022 after training through Connexis to become a qualified water technician; a job she finds many people have never heard of!

“No one really knows that water tech exists,” she says. “When you turn on the tap and water comes out, most people don’t really think about the fact that a team of people has just spent however many hours treating and testing that water!”

Abby first heard about the possibility of a career in water via a family member who also works in the water treatment industry.

After finishing high school in 2020, she started at New Plymouth District Council in a cadet-style role where she learned the basics of water treatment like manual chemical mixes, basic labs, and the bacteriological testing system. “All the dirty jobs no one else wanted to,” she laughs.

After several months of that she started her formal apprenticeship training.

“The flexibility of being able to study and work at the same time was amazing. I was very well supported in getting my qualification,” she says.

“I love that this role covers not just theory but practical work as well. One minute you’re sitting at a computer looking at trends and reports, the next you can be in a river taking and testing water samples.”

The biggest challenge of Abby’s work so far has been becoming competent in a range of different systems, from permits and processes to lab procedures.

Though Abby hopes to travel one day, to work in the water treatment sector in other countries, for now she is keen to share what she has learned and loves about her job.

“If I was talking to someone thinking about getting into this as a job, I’d say ‘get stuck into it’,” she says. “Ask lots of questions, be really interested and keen to learn. Everyone needs water in the world and it’s found everywhere meaning you will always have a job – so get learning!

“For other young women thinking about doing it, I’d say that it’s more fun than you think. It may be scary at first but it is well worth it in the long run.”