Web Banner Tairawhiti

Career switch proving a winner

24 Aug 2020

Career switch proving a winner

As a teenager, Sam Clothier embarked on an ocean-going career he thought would be his life, but two years ago, he lost his crayfishing quota, had to sell his boat Shamrock, and began the search for a new job.

He ended up at the iconic Lottin Point Station as a farmhand and six months later, had so impressed the owner that he was moved to a new position – as a digger operator for Potaka based Troy Wheeler Contracting (TWC).

“I always thought I’d be on the sea, but I have also always loved driving diggers, so this great – I’m really enjoying the change.”

Sam’s smile is infectious and his love for the job is clear.

He continues to impress and he’s forging a career in the civil construction industry, receiving valuable training, qualifications and is about to get his heavy vehicle licence. He’s an important member of the TWC team working on roading projects funded by the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF).

Council’s $54.2m PGF investment has done more than improve the region’s roads – it’s changed people’s lives, supported local businesses to grow, while creating jobs and training opportunities for local people to thrive.

“I have been very lucky and we’ve picked up some really good people,” says TWC owner Troy Wheeler.

“The future is looking bright thanks to investment like this from the Provincial Growth Fund. The way local contractors have been supported with the funding has been fantastic. We’ve been able to tender directly to Council for work, which is a learning curve, but well worth it.”

Troy is still on the lookout for new crew members to enable them to continue with the increased workload.

Council has completed over $30m of PGF works since May 2019 and will deliver another $25m before the end of this year, giving contractors like Troy the confidence to scale up and provide job security for the TWC team.

Sam’s Lottin base allows him to still indulge in his love of the ocean with plenty of fishing and diving to be had. “There’s nowhere else better to be really,” he says.

For more information about Council’s Provincial Growth Fund investment into Tairāwhiti, see www.gdc.govt.nz/major-projects/(external link)

Photo below: Sam is currently working on the culvert renewals on Tiniroto Road.