Hawkes Bay man engineers a bright future - advocates apprenticeships are ‘a great foundation’

05 February 2020

Jamie Pakoti recently completed his apprenticeship in Engineering – Fabrication (Steel Construction), the culmination of three years on the job and the foundation of his dream career as an architectural engineer.

Jamie, 23, was employed by ATNZ and seconded to Hawke’s Bay’s Patton Engineering to do his apprenticeship, and is now employed full time by the company. Patton provides full service structural and mechanical engineering for projects of every scale, from design to completion, and currently employs six apprentices.

Training has always been a high priority for Patton’s owners Johnathan Williams and Andrew Burn. “We have seen the shortfall of companies training apprentices and this adversely affects the industry due to lack of skilled workers coming through.

“We are able to host apprentices because ATNZ has the staff and systems in place to administer and monitor their bookwork and assignments, leaving us to do what we do best – teach practical and technological skills,” says Andrew.

Before joining Patton to embark on his apprenticeship, Jamie worked for an architectural design company and renowned New Zealand designer David Trubridge, both while still at school. “I was strong at drawing, maths and physics and knew I wanted to study some form of engineering, but I needed to test it out in the real world and really enjoyed the structural and design sides. When I finished school, I found the apprenticeship and the hands-on experience has been invaluable.”

Now in the role of design engineer and assistant project manager at Patton, Jamie says he enjoys his work because of the challenges it brings. “You get to work with architects and engineers and the innovation in the industry is fascinating. And technological advances, particularly in the design aspects of engineering, are amazing.

Andrew says Jamie was a quiet, yet confident apprentice. “He excelled in his bookwork and due to his attentive nature, he picked up all the skills he was being taught on the floor with relative ease. He always had a sharp and focused work ethic, which has seen him now move into the detailing side of the business, heavily involved with the latest technology in 3D scanning being widely used especially in the seismic strengthening of buildings.”

Jamie is now exploring further study towards his dream of becoming an architectural engineer, and says his apprenticeship has broadened his knowledge and given him a better understanding of the industry.

“What is my advice to anyone not sure of the career path to take after school?  No matter your final career goal, apprenticeships give you a great foundation. It’s an opportunity to build skills and experience that are internationally recognised.”

Andrew says the relationship with ATNZ has “worked well” for Patton. “We have turned out some great tradespeople as a result of that combined effort.”