ATNZ apprentice a leader in the making

31 May 2018

Marshall Cheer is a third-year maintenance and diagnostics apprentice at Wm Ross Engineering in Kawerau. Recently he was nominated and won a Rotary Young-Person Leadership Award, or RYLA. Marshall was put forward for the week-long leadership development programme by Wm Ross’ owner, Ian Ross, who in 1986 had himself attended the course.

“I nominated Marshall for the RYLA as he had shown potential to becoming a good leader. He’s got a great attitude to life and I felt he could benefit greatly from the experience. In the past, I have nominated four of my previous apprentices and they have all benefited from the course and I can see Marshall is already using some of the skills he learned. I’m really grateful to the Kawerau Rotary Club for sending me on the RYLA course when I was Marshall’s age as it gave me a lot of confidence and leadership skills,” says Ian.

RYLA is an experiential live-in programme designed to help young people develop their team work and communication skills and fulfill their potential as leaders. Marshall is doing his apprenticeship at Wm Ross through ATNZ, which contributed two days’ wages to compensate for him to attend the course. He says the RYLA experience gave him skills he has taken back to his workplace.

“Over the week we did a range of activities including high ropes, caving, public speaking, learning about behavioural styles and interviewing local business leaders in Cambridge. What stuck with me is that good leaders are humble and compassionate, firm but fair and always involve the whole team in decision making. The public speaking and communication skills we were taught are very relatable at work. For example, I feel now I can help improve workshop toolbox meetings with simple communication based tools that will improve efficiency.”

Marshall has his apprenticeship finish line in sight, hoping to complete within the next six months. He says he is looking to grow into a more challenging role in the company. “For now though, I love what I do and I take a lot of pride in my work. I am driven and motivated to make a difference. I think Ian put my name forward to attend RYLA for those qualities, which make for a future leader.”