“Everyone was really proud, especially my Dad, he was really happy. I have two brothers and they’re builders so we’re all in the building trade,” says the 31 year old Christchurch electrician.

Matthew works for Wright Wire Electrical and, in July 2022, was the first apprentice to qualify under the Kāinga Ora apprenticeship programme after three years’ training. He decided to become an electrician after his league career was cut short.

“I had a league career and I kept getting injured,” Matthew explains. “After I figured out that I had nothing to fall back on, I started looking for an electrical job.

“There were heaps of positives through working with Craig and his team. When I was searching for a job, all I needed was an opportunity and I was supported all the way through.”

Matthew is among more than 500 apprentices who Kāinga Ora has helped into an apprenticeship, with the assistance of training and pastoral care providers, since 2019. This includes 390 working on construction and innovation projects. A total of 77 Kāinga Ora build partners and subcontractors are currently employing apprentices across public housing build sites across the country.

Wright Wire Electrical director Craig Wright says he saw Matthew develop hugely over the three years he was an apprentice with the company – and he fitted right in. “The goal is to train guys across everything and the proof is in the pudding.  Matty has done amazing and the beauty of it is that he has been able to work and study at the same time.

“We [Wright Wire Electrical] have a lot of community focus…and it’s important for our guys to have our DNA. Humbleness is something I’m looking for more than anything and Matty had that in spades,” Craig says.

While he has been on the tools, Matthew also studied at Ara in Christchurch. He says studying again was rewarding, but also the hardest part of his time as an apprentice. “The most challenging…was definitely the books, study and trying to prove myself.”

Craig says Matthew’s determination to succeed was evident throughout his apprenticeship. “Seeing him pass even when he had doubts and seeing someone who started off nervous and quiet get to where he is, is just awesome,” Craig says.

For more about the Kāinga Ora apprenticeship programme email apprentices@kaingaora.govt.nz or read our Training and apprenticeships page.