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A career for the great outdoors

Lochie Freer's Marine Industry journey

Lochie Freer

New Zealand's landscapes are not just breathtaking - they also inspire a way of life deeply rooted in nature. For Lochlan "Lochie" Freer, that connection became the cornerstone of both his personal and professional journey. Originally from Napier, where trades and farming were family traditions, Lochie found his passions for hunting and fishing could be combined with his new career in the heart of the Coromandel Peninsula.

From school to Peninsula Marine

Lochie's journey began with a unique opportunity – a School Gateway programme. Through this programme he showcased his dedication and skills at Peninsula Marine, making a lasting impression on his future employer. This initiative not only allowed Lochie to express his interest in the job, but also gave Peninsula Marine a chance to get to know him personally before offering him an apprenticeship. Lochie seized the opportunity when it was offered and went on to complete his apprenticeship.

Choosing a path with less debt

Leaving school early might seem unconventional, but for Lochie, it was a strategic move. Fueled by a love for hands-on work, he wanted an apprenticeship to gain valuable real-world skills - and to avoid a student loan. Lochie was drawn to the marine industry, envisioning a career that would keep him connected to the outdoors.

Lochie successfully completed the New Zealand Certificate in Power Boat Systems Servicing and Repair (Technician) Level 4. This comprehensive MAST course equipped him with specialised skills required in servicing and repairing power boat engines and systems.

Reflecting on his apprenticeship journey, Lochie acknowledges Peninsula Marine's unwavering support. "Peninsula Marine have been fantastic and were very supportive, and at times honest when I needed to hear it," he says. Now, as a seasoned professional with apprentices under him, Lochie is passing on his knowledge to the next generation, mentoring new apprentices.

Advice for aspiring apprentices

For school leavers contemplating an apprenticeship, Lochie offers some valuable tips. "It’s definitely a good idea, but you must organise your fun and life around your book work," he says, emphasising the importance of balancing work and study through the apprenticeship journey. “Real - world learning also offers you invaluable life skills”.

Looking back at the challenges he faced with his apprenticeship, Lochie simplifies the experience. "Things are only as hard as you make them – if you organise and focus, it's easy after that."

This attitude has been instrumental in Lochie's success, along with the support he received along the way from his MAST training advisors.

Considering his future, he also plans to stay right where he is. Peninsula Marine has a great company culture and a supportive environment, ideal for their mutual and continued growth.


Alan Thompson of Peninsula Marine Ltd

With over 35 years in business, Alan Thompson, the owner of Peninsula Marine Ltd in Thames, sees the invaluable benefits of apprenticeships. Alan also believes it helps to ‘Future-proof’ his industry because it provides a continuity of trained individuals entering the trades.

Alan emphasises the joy of training and molding young minds to meet the specific needs of the marine industry. He looks for young people who are keen to learn and who are ready to absorb the skills and knowledge vital to his business. Creating a learning culture and supporting young apprentices helps ensure they stay long term.

Alan notes that Lochie demonstrated a remarkable evolution in skill development right from the start, with a learning mindset and particularly enjoying challenging work and problem-solving. According to Alan, the apprenticeship system fosters continuous learning, growth, and confidence. And with MAST Training Advisers always supporting, Alan says “there is no reason why apprentices can’t succeed.”


Ready to fire up your own journey?

MAST apprenticeship courses contribute trained technicians and trades people to the industry with the expertise required to handle the intricacies of marine machinery, materials and methods. MAST has a range of apprenticeship programmes, from production boat building to composite boat building to industrial textiles and marina operations.

If you’re looking for a trade career, an apprenticeship in the marine industry could be the gateway to a fulfilling life adventure. For apprenticeship options - or if you’re an employer with someone you want to train - go to


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