Where are they now: Dean Hunter
After completing a Cert III in Electrotechnology with HVTC and BlueScope in 2012, Dean Hunter rose up the ranks in his trade before finally biting the bullet and starting his own business in 2016. Dean is proof that an apprenticeship can lead you anywhere, even to business ownership!
Since completing your apprenticeship, where has your career taken you?
After completing my Apprenticeship with BlueScope in Wollongong, I relocated to the Hunter Valley to take a position as a shift electrician with BHP in one of their Coal Preparation plants. After working there for two years, I took an internal transfer back down to Wollongong and continued my career with BHP. After a short period of time I was promoted to Electrical Maintenance Planner, where I was responsible for planning and supervising all on site electrical works for both internal and external tradespeople.
I really enjoyed this role, but I always had a passion for running a company of my own, so in 2016 I left to start my own business, Bright Group Electrical. I am now working as the Director of Bright Group Electrical, with seven employees across both Sydney and Wollongong. We work for a mix of commercial and residential builders, Government/corporate clients and facilities management companies.
Have you undertaken any additional training, or plan to?
I have undertaken a Diploma of Electrical Engineering as well as a partial completion of a Cert IV in Small Business Management. At the moment I don’t have any plans for additional formal training, but I am always looking for opportunities to learn from those around me and seek out people who have excelled in different fields.
How has your time with HVTC supported you throughout your working career?
It not only provided me with a solid foundation of skills and industry experience through being placed with one of the Illawarra's most respected employers in my industry but also provided me the opportunities to go on to further refine and develop my skills as a leader and mentor through awards programs, scholarships and connecting me with World Skills Australia, whom I have continued my involvement with long after my apprenticeship.
Looking back, how important was the training you received during your apprenticeship? Are there particular skills you learnt that you apply every day?
I owe everything that I have achieved to the training and opportunities provided to me by HVTC and my host employer BlueScope.
When I started my apprenticeship, I had no idea what to expect. I hadn’t the slightest idea of what an Electrician actually did or how to use a hand tool. My tradesmen and field officers were helpful, supportive and most importantly gave me opportunities to reach for bigger things. Opportunities like apprentice of the year awards, running challenging jobs on my own, training for higher roles or scholarships to undertake further study were all small wins that instilled in me a drive to always do better and a belief that I could achieve anything that I set my mind to.
Honestly, the biggest skill that I took away was probably adaptability and people skills. During my apprenticeship I had the opportunity to move between departments, each time entering a new team, a new environment, new challenges and new bosses. It taught me to adapt, how to fit in to a team, how to talk to people, how to become the ‘new guy’ over and over again. It meant having to prove myself all over again each time. I believe that learning this has helped me so much throughout my career. It has taught me the importance of team dynamics and to stay humble because you will always find someone to learn from.
What are some of your favourite memories from your time with HVTC?
Attending the HVTC 30 year gala dinner, having the opportunity to promote HVTC at schools and career expos and winning the Mission Performance Leadership Scholarship, which allowed me to travel to the UK with the World Skills team to undertake a 2-week leadership and teamwork course.
What advice would you give to other apprentices or job seekers thinking about starting their own business?
It’s hard work and long hours, but it’s possibly the most rewarding experience of your life.
My advice would be to surround yourself with people who support your vision, a lot of people will doubt you and tell you that you should stick to your ‘safe’ job. Find the people who are there to help and cheer you on. Nothing exciting ever happens within your comfort zone.
Secondly, always remember that your team are and will always be your biggest asset, more important than any one client or any amount of money. If your company is going to grow, you absolutely can’t do it alone; you need a strong and flexible team around you that knows how important they are to you.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I see myself continuing to expand the Bright Group brand, growing our team, attracting new clients and diversifying into new markets.