Anthony GAT site

Anthony Barensden-Vernooij enjoys pushing himself outside of his comfort zone. Originally a baker and a qualified chef, Anthony realised he wanted to cook for pleasure, not professionally.

“After I left cheffing I did a little bit of everything, trying to figure out what I wanted to do,” he says.

“I worked in dairy farming, a plastic blow moulding factory – I even maintained vineyards.

“But I finally found my passion working for O’Hagan contracting as a drainlaying apprentice,” he says. 

Anthony explains finding your dream career takes commitment and discipline like any goal in life.

“Along my career journey I was also serious about Canoe Polo. I started playing on the NZ men’s team in 2006.

“During my Canoe Polo career, I worked hard with team which saw us attend four world championships and four Oceania championships. It was a real buzz seeing our hard training pay off and that definitely transfers directly into my work ethic,” he says.

Anthony, 32, recognises he is not straight out of high school, but credits his work experience with helping to prove his competence in his apprenticeship.

“Ideally I would have gone straight into an apprenticeship from school. I might have gotten in my perfect career faster if I had guidance from something like The Skills Organisation’s Gateway Programme.”

“I enjoy problem solving which is a natural part of this job. It takes common sense and the ability to think on your feet when faced with a new type of job and location every day,” he says.

Once qualified in a couple years, Anthony says his opportunities are endless.

“Getting a trade gives you options, income and sets you up for life.”

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