Ovlov Marine is investing in the future of the marine industry through training a record number of apprentices. Ovlov currently has 11 staff in formal training across its two branches, located in Westhaven and Pine Harbour, Auckland, either completing initial trade training, upskilling or formalising their qualifications.

Director Lachlan Trembath says Ovlov works closely with MAST (Marine and Specialised Technologies) Academy to provide training and supervision for staff gaining skills in the trade of marine technician. The company’s training programmes have also been supported by Apprenticeship Boost funding provided by the New Zealand government.
“We’ve always been keen on apprenticeship schemes and continuing to upskill our staff,” Trembath says. “It’s becoming more of an issue to hire skilled staff, and the shortage of qualified people has been exacerbated by current immigration settings here in New Zealand, so it makes sense for us to train more of the people we need right here, in-house.”
Of the current trainees, two are school-leaver apprentices, selected through the Launch It school-to-work programme. This involves promising students being identified by MAST and then undertaking part-time work experience with Ovlov before commencing formal full-time apprenticeships. The balance of Ovlov’s current trainees are more experienced staff, some of whom have come into the marine sector from other industries. Several are completing formal NZQA qualifications in order to assist their immigration applications, among them Vinothkumar Suhumaran, who has previously worked in the aviation industry in Malaysia; Laurent De Luca from Mauritius, who ran a business maintaining marine and mining equipment; and Sita Paeniu from Tuvalu, who is now putting the skills he gained previously through working on larger boats into practical use on smaller craft.
“All of these people bring their other skills to their jobs here, and are taking this opportunity to learn more about how boats are built and powered here, and more about the New Zealand marine industry in general,” Trembath says.
The majority of staff in training are working to gain the Level 4 New Zealand Certificate in Marine Systems, a diesel-based qualification, while three are studying for the Power Boat Systems Servicing and Repair (Technician) qualification, which covers outboard motors. The Marine Systems apprenticeship takes around four years to complete, and combines online learning modules with on-the-job practical training and experience in the workshop. Ovlov’s apprenticeship training also ties in with Volvo Penta and Yamaha training – “so they get a formal NZQA qualification which is supplemented with brand-specific training,” Trembath explains.
He says training apprentices represents a big investment of time and resources from the company’s skilled and qualified staff, “but we’re happy to do it. Our commitment to training helps us to show our staff that we’re looking at the long-term picture. We hope they will be with us for a long time, but if and when they do leave the company it’s good to know that we have helped them to develop their skills and enabled them to make a greater contribution to the local marine industry.
“It’s a way to offer something attractive and meaningful to staff, and at the same time giving back to the industry by enhancing the workforce with people who have recognised, formal qualifications and experience.”

Pine Harbour staff above. Westhaven staff main picture.