Nailing it: Oamaru man becomes qualified builder at age of 66

For many of us, the idea of turning 65 means picking up a SuperGold Card, having more time in the garden, and generally enjoying a slower pace of life.

But not so for Oamaru man Marcus Brown, who – after a career in management and on the eve of retirement – decided he wanted to become a builder.

Now 66, Marcus has just finished his apprenticeship and graduated as a qualified builder.

Before going into the building industry, he had been working for a cycle tour company, however it fell apart due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Brown told Checkpoint.

“I started working for a pal of mine in town, Brett Stuart. He and his wife Fiona own Crosscut Construction and I was doing a bit of hammer handling,” he said.

“One day I had a bit of a rush of blood to the head and said ‘would you put me through an apprenticeship, please?'”

He asked to do an apprenticeship so both he and Stuart would commit to the process, he said.

“At least I knew I was going to be doing something for two or three years, which was the stability I think I was possibly looking for.”

As he worked in management for most of his life, his work had not been physically demanding, he said.

“I’ve always been reasonably fit, so I haven’t worn myself out, so I was obviously saving myself for this, for later life.”

The hardest part of the job was being at the bottom of the heap, he said.

“The hardest part was taking instruction from young fellas, in other words, the tea boy and below.

“But anyone who knows me, I’ve thrown myself into that with great gusto. I always try to make the best cup of tea and sweep the floors the best and smartest.”

Brown said he had learnt humility from his younger workmates and how their way of life differed to his.

“We’re in a different world now, but what I do appreciate is that a bit of a hand they give me now and again.

“They don’t let me get too overpowered with some of the big stuff and so we work together as a team, which is obviously really important.”

He was able to share knowledge he had picked up through his life with his workmates, he said.

“I’ve picked up a few tricks as I’ve gone through life and if I can give some them some pointers without being a bit of an old fuddy-duddy then I’m really happy to to share some some knowledge.

“We have some great chats at smoko, I’m really privileged to work with some fabulous boys.”

Brown said he would not want to be doing anything else.

“I’m super privileged to be able to do it and to be still giving it a crack.”

His advice for anyone looking for a career change was to seize the day, he told Checkpoint.

“My advice to anyone is, it’s all about the top two inches, your head is the most important part. If you’re physically fit enough and you’re keen to give something a go, then you just gotta give it a whirl,” he said.

“Once you drop into that soft, cosy chair, it gets a bit difficult to get out of it.”

He said he hoped to be building for a while as he enjoyed working for the company and with his team.

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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