Business North July / August 2021

| 85 Finding qualified staff a challenge Sue Russell Helena Bay Electrical has seen a spike in demand for solar technologies. CONTRACTING Helena Bay Electrical H elena Bay Electrical is a locally owned and operated business, located just north of Whangarei, operated by Uwe and Julia. They are passionate about provid- ing quality work and outstanding customer service, treating each job as if it was their own home. Originally from Germany, where Uwe re- ceived his training as an electrician, the couple have been living in Northland for almost 20 years. Uwe gained his New Zealand registra- tion in 2006. By 2017, the business had grown to the point where they took on an apprentice and shortly thereafter another electrician. Asked whether there’s an intention to grow the business further they say they would like to get a little bigger. “One of the challenges is finding qualified staff. It’s really important to bring on new apprentices, so we have the right balance of qualified and in training,” Julia says. “We are in the process of looking for a quali- fied electrician to grow our amazing team.” While the name relates to a specific loca- tion, Helena Bay Electrical services the wider Whangarei area, from to the Bay of Islands to Waipu. The bulk of work is servicing the residen- tial sector, covering everything from lighting upgrades, ventilation solutions, new builds and general electrical maintenance, however increasingly, demand for solar technologies has become a large part of the mix. “We started the solar work about three years ago and that’s been growing. We do off- grid as well as grid-connected PV installations,” Julia explains. COVID presented as a huge learning curve and the couple spent a valuable time ensur- ing that Health and Safety protocols worked effectively. As soon as the lock down occurred, Helena Bay Electrical registered as an essen- tial service, through their association with Master Electricians. Uwe and Julia have also noticed the ripple on effect of people wanting to get out of the big cities, into quieter, less congested regions. That, in itself has produced more work from new house builds, conversions, and develop- ing lifestyle blocks. Belonging to Master Electricians is some- thing they treat with real value. To become a member, an accreditation pathway has to occur and, in terms of latest news on changes in regulations and technologies, they believe it is been very worthwhile belonging. Uwe brings over 35 years of knowledge and experience in the electrical field with him. He and the team pride themselves in delivering high quality workmanship and being leaders in new technologies in the industry. Chae is their current apprentice and at 18 years of age, he is enjoying the opportunity to become qualified. The apprenticeship pathway takes three years to complete. Julia says Chae loves the variety of work each day presents. While Uwe and the team are out in the field, Julia organises the ‘boys’, as well as all the necessary administration and documentation protocols. Given the area Uwe and the team work, they’ve enjoyed establishing great relation- ships with a lot of out of town bach owners and the like. The decision to settle in the North was a no-brainer for the couple. “We had travelled all over New Zealand and there’s just something about this area which, for us, is very special and felt like the right place to settle and grow our business.” Gaining support and advice from a Business Consultant has also really helped the couple set their business on strong foundations. “Susan has been such a help and has an objective view of the business. Sometimes when you have a husband and wife company as we do, its difficult to always have a clear perspective.” Uwe and Julia meet Susan of Oxygen8 once a month, to discuss anything from marketing strategies, health and safety, employment to setting future goals. “We’ve also found our accountant, Jeremy and Northland Inc. to be incredibly important for the business. Having external partners forms a kind of safety net, should things not go according to plan.” “We started the solar work about three years ago and that’s been growing. We do off-grid as well as grid- connected PV installations.” 021 0237 4472 SusanCooneyOxygen8 Susan Cooney Susan Cooney Susan brings real world operational experience having established successful businesses throughout her working career in New Zealand and abroad. Roles included consulting, operational management, marketing, training and public speaking across corporate and SME environments. Based in Whangarei, she is passionate about helping business owners achieve success. Helena Bay Electrical owners, Julia & Uwe have grown both their business and themselves. I am proud to be part of their journey. . , , , . , . , . . CONNECTING TO YOUR NEEDS - NOT JUST YOUR NUMBERS Trade and retail specialists Jeremy Tauri - Associate Brent Martin - Director Tax and business advice Ph: (09) 438 3322 Email: 134 Bank St, Whangarei