top of page

Sharing a professional approach

Surtees boat on a trailer with Aaron Geerling holding a fish

MAST Academy’s Training Advisor Mike Howe travels to businesses around the country to support apprentices and workplace trainers. On the outskirts of Kawerau near Whakatane, Mike caught up with Aaron Geerling, a workplace trainer at Surtees Boats - an alloy boat manufacturer.

The Surtees team has always valued its apprentices with training and mentoring. Aaron Geerling, once an apprentice himself, is now a mentor for new apprentices through MAST’s workplace trainer scheme.

Aaron left high school in 2015 to join the Navy as a marine technician at the age of 17. He left the navy after two years to pursue other pathway options in the marine industry and has always enjoyed being on or near the ocean. It was always on the cards for Aaron that a career in the marine industry was just around the corner.

He began work with Surtees in 2018 and was offered an apprenticeship in Powerboat Rigging the following year, which he completed in 2023. Now, new opportunities have opened up for Aaron, including mentoring other apprentices and passing on the skills he has learned from the team at Surtees.

Part of any apprenticeship is to accumulate a wide range of experiences within the type of work you are involved with in order to complete your training. For Aaron, this centred around powerboat rigging and involved connecting  and commissioning steering, throttles , shift controls, navigation and communication systems – as well as fitting outboard units to boats.

As a workplace trainer, Aaron now enjoys sharing his knowledge with the young apprentices. He has completed his workplace trainer certificate (a short online course with MAST) - which gives him the confidence to pass on the skills and knowledge he has gained. As a workplace trainer, Aaron’s job is also to verify the quality and correctness of the work the apprentices do.

Aaron says “the hardest part of being a workplace trainer is changing my work style to suit the apprentice’s learning style. It’s all about giving them enough time - as well as doing my own job as well. I’ve learned how to manage my time better and how to prioritise operational work alongside my responsibilities as a workplace trainer.”

MAST Training Advisor Mike Howe is available to answer questions for both the apprentice and for the workplace trainer. He says “ the most important skill as a workplace trainer is to be patient”.

Aaron applauds the role MAST and the Training Advisors do for the apprentices at Surtees Boats. “Through the programme I have developed more patience with the speed in which others learn - and it has also allowed me to apply my knowledge in more of a teaching environment”.

Aaron is currently very content with his role as the fit-out supervisor at Surtees Boats - and as their workplace trainer. His favourite work moment? Fitting out the Fishing and Adventure’s Holy Ship 5.0 with the new Honda 350 V8!

For more info on Marine Apprenticeships and Workplace Training Certification, contact us at


Die Kommentarfunktion wurde abgeschaltet.
bottom of page