KEEGAN MACNEIL’s dream is to one day work as a chief engineer on a superyacht, travelling the world and being paid to do so. The 19-year-old is on the path to making this dream a reality, working as an apprentice marine systems engineer at General Marine Services in Auckland’s Westhaven.
Keegan’s favourite part of the job is working on the big 16-litre V8 Scania engines and the comradery of working as part of a team. “The problem solving is a great character-building experience, which has given me a lot more confidence in what I do,” he says.
An opportunity to work in the industry opened when Tracey Eaton from NZMAC ITO’s Launch It, School to Work programme spoke to Keegan’s automotive class about apprenticeship role in marine systems engineering at General Marine Services. Keegan remembers. “When I heard that I would be working on superyacht engines, I was sure that was what I wanted to do.”
Designed to connect senior high-school students interested in a career in the marine or composites industries with employers, the School to Work programme has allowed Keegan to pursue a career in marine engineering. Students are employed on a part-time basis, usually spending 1-2 days per week at work and 3- 4 days at school. As well as gaining credits towards NCEA Levels 2 and 3, students receive credits towards an NZMAC ITO industry qualification, explore career options and gain valuable work experience.
Keegan’s advice to anyone wanting to get into the marine industry is to “dive into the learning head-first because knowledge and experience is key in this industry. These things come with time, so be ready and willing to learn!”
(Reproduced from Leaving School magazine).