Drainlayer pumped for recognition

Fulton Hogan drainlayer Gunnar Jackson was nominated in three categories for the Industry Trainee of the Year. Photo: Tracy Hardy.


Life hasn’t gone down the drain for a young Tauranga resident who was nominated in three categories for Industry Trainee of the Year.

Fulton Hogan drainlayer Gunnar Jackson was nominated for Trainee of the Year, Maori Trainee of the Year and Pacific Islander of the Year at the annual Industry Training Awards.

He was flown to Wellington last week, along with 50 other ’heroes’ from a range of industries to attend the ‘Got A Trade’ Future Leaders Forum conference at Westpac Stadium, followed by the 2017 Industry Training Awards later that night.

Unfortunately Gunnar didn’t win, but he says he was “over the moon” to be nominated.

“I’m pretty gutted, but you can see why the people won the awards that they did. It’s a pretty huge achievement for them to win,” says Gunnar.

“I’m so stoked with the experience, meeting new people and learning what others do.”

He says the good thing about the awards and conference was that there was a range of industries, such as manufacturing, farming, cooking, serving, beautifying, caring, coaching, and supporting.

Each category had people from different fields which Gunnar says allowed him to talk to new, inspiring people.

Gunnar has recently completed his water reticulation and drainage books and now is looking at other qualifications and upgraded certificates.

“I sat the books back in 2010. I finally got the book finished and the guys that mark it, it didn’t get marked in time, so what had happened was when they came around to marking it the whole book had expired and I had to re-sit the whole thing again,” says Gunnar.

“So it’s been seven years in the making you could say, but once I got the new books for the water reticulation it took me a year to do, which is how long it should take.”  

Despite this accomplishment, Gunnar says he isn’t stopping yet.

“The more qualifications to my name the better.”

The next paper he is going to sit is a pipe installation certificate which covers wastewater, potable water and storm water.

He says there have been a few jobs that he has found challenging, such as the Tauranga Eastern Link job that had running sand that held their work back.

“One job we’ve done that was a real challenge was the Eastern Link job, because when we were laying pipes, it’s all running sand, so when you’re digging deep you’ve got to try and control the running sand, so what you do is set up a dewatering system.”

He says attending the industry day has given him a clearer mind and he is now ready to take on more challenges like the Eastern Link job.

Gunnar is staying optimistic and says hopefully he will be nominated again next year.