Skillinvest success story
Pictured: O’Connors integration Manager Zach Holmes.
Photograph and story courtesy of The Weekly Advertiser
From apprentice to manager of leading agricultural company
Zach Holmes, integration manager with farm-machinery dealership O’Connors, represents a glowing example of how well a Skillinvest apprenticeship program can generate success for individuals, business and industries.
Mr Holmes started an apprenticeship with Skillinvest, aka WORKCO, with O’Connors in 2005.
Mr Holmes said having the strong support and a positive experience provided by Skillinvest were critical in his overall outcome.
“Having a great relationship with my Skillinvest ‘support’ person in Shane Cross was very reassuring in knowing you had a third set of eyes watching on – ensuring your development was progressing at a satisfactory level not only at work but trade school as well,” he said.
Mr Holmes said after he had finished his apprenticeship and became qualified, he continued employment with O’Connors Horsham.
After a short stint he applied for was successful in getting service-manager role at O’Connors Birchip.
“I spent six years as service manager in Birchip before moving in a group technical role for 12 months and then as branch manager at Birchip for a further two and a half years,” he said.
“I then moved back to Horsham, where the journey began, as branch manager and was in the position for two years.
“I then had a sales-manager position for a little over 12 months before moving into my current role as integration manager for our newly acquired O’Connors dealerships in Ballarat and St Arnaud.
“I’ve been very lucky to have opportunity of career development and O’Connors have been very supportive of supporting a career pathway for me.”
Mr Holmes said his role at O’Connors involved taking responsibility for and overseeing the ‘onboarding’ and transitioning of the Ballarat and St Arnaud dealerships to an O’Connors way of business – instilling the
firm’s core values.
“This included managing staff retention, recruitment, training, policy and procedure implementation, customer engagement and most importantly delivering an exceptional customer experience and support package,”
Mr Holmes agreed that the skills he gained through his experiences as an apprentice helped in his career progression.
“When considering my current role, the early experience was very important.
“This particularly applied in developing an understanding of exceptional onboarding experiences, offering great support and training and ensuring good relationships are formed to be able give assistance and guidance when needed,” he said.
Mr Holmes said O’Connors, in continuing to use Skillinvest services, was testament to a strong and productive partnership.
“Knowing you have someone in your corner watching and helping you develop in the early stages of your career through thick and thin is invaluable,” he said.