The winner of the Male Rising Star Award, Alex Hawkins, loves the problem-solving side of the refrigeration and air conditioning trade.
The 23-year-old technician from Alpine Refrigeration says he loves a challenge.
That may explain why he has enthusiastically embraced every opportunity that has come his way. He has been a WorldSkills competitor and even won an industry scholarship.
“What I love most about my job is doing something different every day and it is always challenging,” he says.
Alex is keen to develop his skills even further and is currently planning to further his education.
“Right now I am moving towards engineering and designing systems,” he says.
“I would like to make improvements to the energy efficiency of buildings through the effective use of control systems and system design.
“I would also be interested in giving back to the trade in a mentoring role at some point in time.”
His willingness to mentor is about sharing his passion for the trade.
He also recognises the industry is facing a serious skills shortage and a diminished skill level.
“There appears to be far fewer technicians in comparison to the demand for skilled workers,” Alex says.
“This issue is exacerbated by the fact that there appears to be a lot of demand for high end technicians that is not being met.
“I believe that training, both in and out of the workplace, could be improved.”
On a positive note, Alex says the industry has become much more energy conscious.
“Automation and efficiency are often important factors in what we do,” he says.
Sponsored by ABB, this year’s rising star award category was particularly competitive.
In fact there were four finalists competing this year but Alex had plenty of support from his work colleagues who believe he is a credit to the industry.
Even as an apprentice they said he went above and beyond to excel in his trade and stay abreast of the latest technologies and trends.
The winner was announced by ABB’s HVAC segment manager for drives, Paul Burrows.
“The future of our industry depends on these rising stars and ABB is happy to support them,” Burrows says.