Sparking a life-long passion

Rynhardt (Ray) Marais’ interest in all things electrical was ignited at the tender age of seven when he decided he would undertake to fix his family’s Christmas lights.

“The lights didn’t work, so I took it upon myself to pull them apart and then reconnect them. It wasn’t the most promising of starts, they blew up majorly but I was hooked.”

Eighteen years on, Ray is a keen sparky having just won the Master Electricians Challenge Industrial Apprentice category at the Auckland preliminary rounds on 18 March.

Representing well-known Auckland business Dalton Electrical Ltd, Ray says the preliminaries were an awesome challenge.

“I am really pleased to have participated in this event. I didn’t do as well last year so this year was about proving my ability and I’m stoked at having won at the prelims,” he says.

“I was brought up to really respect the trades. My dad always said to me, if you’ve got a trade, you’ll always have something to fall back on. That piece of advice has always stuck with me. For me this isn’t just a job – it’s a career path with a world of opportunities.”

Dalton Electrical Managing Director, Bruce Dalton expects all his apprentices to participate in the Master Electricians Challenge.

“We’ve had apprentices for 50 years now and alongside the on-job training and achievement of qualifications we also enter them into the competition.

“Success breeds success and the competition is an opportunity for our guys to see the standard we expect from them.

Evidently they are not often disappointed, with walls of accolades displayed proudly around the business.

“We’ve been in business since 1966, we always strive to be the best and to push ourselves to achieve bigger and better things.

“It’s not just about winning competitions though. The guys all work really hard at the qualifications they are undertaking. For example Ray is currently working through National Certificate in Electrical Engineering Level 4.

“Anneka Weterman, who is our account manager from The Skills Organisation has been really supportive. She checks in on Ray and came along to see him compete. She is genuinely interested in Ray’s progress and it awesome to see.”

Ray is not resting on his laurels – with the top prize in his sights he shows no signs of slowing down.

We wish Ray and Dalton Electrical all the best for the next round of the Master Electricians Challenge!
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The Skills Organisation works alongside New Zealand industries to help people gain the skills they need for development and success in their workplace.

We focus on supporting our industries in developing skills to improve workplace performance by providing training management and support through a range of support networks.

Find out more – visit or call 0508 SKILLS (754 557).