No boredom for port cadet learning ropes in two-year course

Doulton Tosh pictured outside Port Otago where he is two months into a two-year cadetship. PHOTO:...
Doulton Tosh pictured outside Port Otago where he is two months into a two-year cadetship. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
"I don’t get bored while I’m at work now."

That is Port Otago’s latest cadet, Doulton Tosh, talking about changing from being a hairdresser to working at the port.

The port is launching a two-year structured cadetship that will encourage five new employees into the port and logistics industry and have them work across all aspects of the port business.

Over the two years, the cadets will work in the port’s the supply chain, operate machinery, work in the operations team as a lasher, work in the depot and in the safety team.

Mr Tosh is the first cadet, the other four are yet to be employed.

The 23-year-old started at port in March after spending five years cutting people’s hair.

Mr Tosh said he never expected that he would end up working at the port.

Spending a short time at New Zealand Post over the Covid lockdown last year with his father introduced him to the world of logistics.

"I really enjoy working in hands-on jobs and I got a bit over talking to people and working on people all of the time.

"It was a different environment working at the port and I found I enjoyed it a bit more," he said.

Mr Tosh’s first two weeks on the job were spent on inductions for health and safety and now he was working in the dairy division learning how to drive forklifts.

When Mr Tosh left school he thought hairdressing was going to be his career for life.

"I didn’t really know what I wanted to do ... my mum was a hairdresser and when I was growing up she owned a salon.

"It was just one of those things - I wanted to follow what my parents did," he said.

He said the support from the team in his first two months on the job had been great.

"There is so much going on there. When you first go there it is kind of overwhelming but once you start to understand what is going on, it is not just chaos, there is order to what is going on," he said.

The end goal was to be able to drive one of the straddle carriers, he said.

The scheme had been in the pipeline for a few years and now, after Covid delays, was being launched this year.

Port Otago’s head of people, Kate Walton, said to finally getting the programme started was "exciting".

"The idea behind the cadetship programme is they will successfully complete the two-year programme and then become the talent pipeline for permanent positions across the business, such as in our warehouse division and our operations division," she said.

The programme addressed a national worker shortage.

"We have noticed over the last couple of months that we aren’t attracting the same number of candidates that we did before Covid and we went along to the job expo in Dunedin and they had 300 vacancies. So, overall, there seems to be a skills shortage here in Dunedin."

She said cadets were trained to benefit the whole industry.

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