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Up Education

Jack Smith: NZMA grad honoured at Plumbing Awards 2024

19 Jun 2024

On 12 April, Master Plumbers hosted the New Zealand Plumbing Awards 2024 at Tākina Convention Centre in Wellington, to celebrate the exceptional achievements of skilled tradespeople.

Featured in New Zealand Plumbing Magazine, Jack Smith, a graduate from NZMA Trades as part of UP Education, has been honoured with a ‘Plumbing World Scholarship’ at this year’s New Zealand Plumbing Awards.

The prestigious scholarship, reserved for top Masterlink apprentices, reflects Jack’s diligence, maturity, and personal growth over the past year.

Jack humbly shares that: “Without the opportunities afforded to me by NZMA and Masterlink, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

A tumultuous education and training journey

With a Level 3 Certificate in Plumbing, Drainlaying and Gasfitting at NZMA, Jack says he was provided with a foundation of expertise and confidence to confidently work in the trades industry.

“NZMA provided a solid grounding in theory and hands-on experience with basic tools, giving me confidence and expertise that has served me well in my Masterlink apprenticeship.”

“With Masterlink and APG, I’ve had the opportunity to perfect my skills in maintenance plumbing, even managing my own van and handling independent jobs over the last year. I’m grateful to the team for trusting me with complex tasks and putting me on the on-call roster for after-hours work.”

Originally from a small town in England, Jack’s path to discovering his passion for plumbing has been unconventional.

“Growing up in a small town, career opportunities were limited to mostly working at local bars, so I pursued a philosophy degree at a university in Newcastle, inspired by my mum who had completed a literature degree and found a career she loved.”

“Although I didn’t pursue philosophy as a long-term career, it helped me work my way up to residency in New Zealand, where I met my wife and found my way into plumbing.”

“I don’t come from a place where working in a corporate office is the norm. My family’s career achievements have been rooted in hands-on vocations, which slowly but surely drew me to trades. It took a while for me to make the switch, but I’m glad I changed direction when I did and tried different things like teaching in Thailand along the way.”

Inspiring the next generation of trades apprentices

Jack hopes to impart advice informed by his education and training journey to aspiring apprentices, emphasising the value of trades.

“The notion that a degree holds a higher social status than trades is nonsense. Both paths develop valuable skill sets. It would be a shame to pursue a degree in a field you don’t love, just for the sake of status, when a career in trades could be perfectly suited to you.”

Read article in New Zealand Plumbing Magazine (p.24)