Joseph Andrews1

By Deborah Grace Hady of Tearaway Magazine

Joseph Andrews is, as his boss describes him, “a fine tradesman.”

A joiner at Lee Brothers’ Cabinets and Joinery, Joseph’s apprenticeship has him working on an enormous scope of things, from screwing cabinets and furniture to installing doors and windows.

In fact, his day-to-day at Lee Brothers varies significantly. That makes the job “pretty interesting” and is his favourite part of his apprenticeship. Every day is different, so he rarely gets bored. Even when he is put on a job he doesn’t necessarily enjoy as much, he knows the next week will bring something else.

Recently, Joseph has been tasked with the operational and logistics side of the company, and is learning more about business skills too.

In the space of only a year and a half, Joseph has earned the respect of his bosses, the team at Lee Brothers, and even their customers. With natural communication and customer service skills, Joseph has represented Lee Brothers at a Careers Expo in Rotorua. In fact, within a few minutes of talking to Joseph, we can see why! He is an engaging, friendly tradesman and his gratitude and passion for what he does really shows.

But like most of us, Joseph’s ultimate goal in life is to be happy. He will be the first person to tell you that “this does not come from taking a back seat and watching life fly by.”

Joseph has certainly risen from some hard-hitting personal challenges and struggles.  He admits that he has hit rock bottom several times and was unhappy for quite a while. With family and personal challenges, he struggled to fully enjoy school. To him, it was “just lunch and hanging out with mates.”

After a while, he lost his confidence and motivation, and he didn’t really know what he wanted to do with his life. Yet, Joseph managed to pick himself up to get to where he is today. He didn’t do this, however, by just sitting around and watching his life go by.

He had to put himself out there, step forward and knock on every door. Opportunities didn’t just land on his doorstep, he actively sought them out. He took every opportunity as it came, put himself forward, and he now loves what he’s doing.

When he first joined the joinery industry, he admits that he knew nothing about it. He had to learn from scratch and start from the ground up. Luckily, he found some amazing mentors in Lee Brothers’ senior staff, who even encouraged him to make mistakes, saying mistakes are the best way to learn.

Paul, Lee Brothers’ managing director, has also taken Joseph under his wing to learn more about the business side of the industry. Joseph says he has learned a lot about himself in the process, and his only regret would be that he doubted himself. He stresses that confidence is key.

“You can get good grades, but you need to get yourself physically out there.” To do so requires a certain amount of confidence and self-esteem, and the belief that you can do it.

As a Got A Trade ambassador, Joseph acknowledges there isn’t much in terms of support from school for people who wanted to get into trades. He was amazed to learn that not only did trades exist, but there was such a huge variety of them beyond just building. He wants trades to be encouraged at school, not just to people who wouldn’t make it at university, but to everyone. He reckons that trades need more innovative people, and most importantly, those who are willing to learn!

“University is good for some people, but not everyone,” Joseph explains. He didn’t want to sit in lectures for hours, and knew that he wouldn’t thrive as much in university as would getting himself practical experience.

His advice for teenagers? “Life is too short to sit around. I wasn’t happy for a very long time, and it wasn’t getting better. That was because I was just sitting around. You have to just grab opportunities as they come along!”

This article was written by a Maverick from TEARAWAY, The Voice of New Zealand Youth! 

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