Business, Community

Covid career switch

David Swanson and Chris Atkinson are two of Martella Refrigeration’s newest staff members. Photo: Matt Brown.

It took 120 emails and a nervous wait but within an hour, a Blenheim man secured a new career.

David Swanson moved to Australia three years ago, but as COVID-19 pandemic’s grip tightened on the world he says his family made the decision to move back.

And within an hour of sending out his CV to hundreds of Marlborough firms he had five job offers.

He is now one of the newest recruits at Martella Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, working as an apprentice refrigeration engineer.

Martella owner Craig Martella says because of the strong Marlborough economy, and community support, he’s been able to hire four new workers.

“It’s a testament to the Marlborough economy,” Craig says.

“There’s been a lot of interest in positions.

“There’s more interest from older people – people looking for change and future job security.”

He says finding experienced refrigeration technicians is still hard – but that shows it as a strong competitive field for people to get into.

“It shows it’s a good position to get into because they’re in demand,” he says.

David, whose flights to New Zealand were rescheduled at least ten different times spent two weeks in quarantine in Auckland.

“I enjoyed the quarantine,” David says. “Sometimes the ice-cream was a bit melted by the time it got to your room – but that really the worst of it.”

“Coming out of this I’ll end up with a new qualification,” he says.

“I’m relieved to be back and working somewhere I enjoy.”

“Everyone needs a warm house and a cold beer.”

Colleague Chris was at Canterbury university finishing his master’s degree in engineering geology when the pandemic struck.

But as large infrastructure projects ground to a halt, Chris found himself at a loose end.

He’s been working at Martella’s for seven weeks as a labourer.

“Big infrastructure jobs have slowed down,” Chris says.

“These guys said I could help them out and I jumped at the chance.”

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