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John Hughes

John Hughes

Workshop Foreman — CLAAS Harvest Centre, Otago

How and when did you start your career in agriculture?

I originally hailed from the UK, where I was a qualified diesel mechanic, having done my apprenticeship specialising in buses and trucks. I landed in Christchurch from the UK in October 2010. One week later I started my first job in agriculture as a dairy farm worker, milking cows and doing general farm work. I worked on that farm for 4 years, then moved to Victoria, Australia for a further 3 years as a 2IC on a high production dairy farm. I returned to New Zealand in 2017 and started with the Dunedin CLAAS Harvest Centre as a Service Technician.

What drew you to your current role?

From a young age I was always interested in mechanics. I was always helping Dad fix cars and as a teenager, my friends and I would spend our evenings and weekends playing with cars and motorbikes. After coming to NZ I started in agriculture, and then I decided to change back to the tools after many VERY EARLY mornings out in the snow herding cattle. I saw the job for a Service Technician here in Otago and had my tools shipped from the UK. With some experience behind me as a leader from my time on farms and having gained some good product knowledge from the last 5 years with CLAAS, when the Foreman role came up I thought I could really make a difference and add value.

What roles and experiences have led you to where you are today?

I am a strong believer in everything you do has a consequence; good, bad or both. I’ve had a lot of different experiences in life so far, such as time as a kid seeing dad struggle with issues with cars or his machines at work, watching him work them out and solve them, traveling the world and meeting different people from so many different backgrounds, working in different industries, fixing buses in a 150yr old shed, being on a ship for 2 week shifts pearl farming at sea in WA, and calving cows at 2am in the snow. These experiences have allowed me to see how one decision can have a huge consequence. I try to live my life both personally and professionally where the decisions I make are for the good. Sometimes there’s negative things about jobs and the decisions we make but if the positives exceed the negatives, I’ve always been happy that they were good decisions. We never stop learning.

What do you love about our industry?

The diverse challenges we come across. It is such an evolving and challenging industry, with constantly moving targets that we must adapt to make work. I love problem solving in any capacity, so this job and industry really gives that to me.

What advice would you give to someone thinking of working in our industry?

Be adaptable and enjoy what you do. It is always changing, so be able to adapt and not worry about how your day or week has suddenly flipped upside down. For the most part though, enjoy it. We live in one of the prettiest countries on the planet, enjoy the places work takes you and the opportunities it opens for you.

What training and development have you undertaken with us?

I have completed most of the technical training that is provided. I have also just attended the Geared Ip Leaders course and have learned some real skills to help myself and my colleagues enjoy work and be as productive as we can.


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58 West Coast Road, Yaldhurst
Christchurch 7676, New Zealand
PO Box 16130, Christchurch 8441

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