18 December 2023

Maxwell is Porirua’s 2023 Outstanding Young Employee


Two years ago, Maxwell To’omaga was a school leaver who had barely picked up a tool. But he joined Higgins as an apprentice drainlayer, marking the start of his rapidly advancing civil construction career that sees the 20-year-old now leading a civil drainage team on the large-scale Te Aranga Alliance project.

Such is the impression Maxwell has made on his project team, he was named the Porirua Young Employee Awards “Outstanding Young Employee of the Year” for 2023.

His project manager says it’s remarkable that, as an apprentice drainlayer, he’s already leading a civil drainage team on the alliance that’s supporting Kāinga Ora to deliver new homes in eastern Porirua.

Maxwell’s responsibilities span crucial tasks, including planning the teams’ daily assignments, coordinating the logistics of trucks and excavators, executing complex drainage projects, collaborating with subcontractors including traffic management teams, all while managing health and safety protocols and a sharp focus on quality management.

His commitment to inspiring others into the construction field is equally as remarkable, regularly making college visits where he shares his personal journey to motivate and guide those considering a career in civil construction.

This represents something of a full circle as it was at Aotea College in Porirua where he learned about the Higgins apprenticeship programme.

“The Higgins team came to speak to us and I thought drain laying sounded cool. I’m more of a hands-on learner and the apprenticeship is a great gateway as you are doing something physical as well as learning.”

Maxwell says he has never looked back since joining the team and has loved getting stuck in and learning as much as he can.

“I really enjoy working for Fletcher Construction. It’s a great environment with lots of people around you and I love learning from the senior crew members. They have allowed me to grow and take on a lot of responsibility and are eager to help me progress.”

Maxwell’s accomplishments are inspiring the next generation in his local Porirua area to consider a career in construction, with a few students from his former college already working with the alliance team on-the-ground.

Although his two-year apprenticeship is coming to a close, Maxwell’s’s own learning journey continues. After sitting his exams this month, he plans to continue studying for another two years to get his certified drain laying ticket.

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