Simon completed his secondary education at Gore High School. In early 2006 Simon was offered an apprenticeship with Southern Group Training which placed him with Dongwha Patinna NZ Limited for his practical on job training.
An apprenticeship offers the opportunity to gain a tertiary qualification at Level 4 without needing to take on a student debt. Apprentices are paid as they learn. Southern Group Training, as employer, pays for Simon’s Training Manual, his evening class and block course fees, and pays him while he is attending his annual three week block course. Travel and accommodation costs for any block courses held outside Southland are also covered
Southern Group Training also provides apprentices with an interest free tool loan to enable apprentices to have a basic toolkit of their own from the beginning of their apprenticeship. The apprentice does not have to save up for each tool but has the basics of the required tool kit on hand. This means that the apprentice does not need to borrow other trades people’s tools to complete the tasks at hand. Apprentices are also provided with their own personal protective equipment.