Gaining the essential skills for a trades career is only part of the learning curve for apprentices at Riviera.
Teaching life skills is just as important – and it has been for the past 20 years.
Riviera aligns its award-winning apprenticeship program with the Propel program, which is designed to teach apprentices more than just how to build world-class motor yachts.
Adam Houlahan, Riviera’s Training and Safety Manager, oversees the Propel program and, along with many of Riviera’s management team, understands the benefits intimately.
“As the program has been a part of Riviera’s work culture for the past 20 years, most of our middle-management team, some of them in the mid-30s and 40s now, have been through the program,” said Mr Houlahan who is among the Propel alumni.
“It’s an important program that really establishes a culture of teamwork and quality within our organisation.
“I found that what I learned all those years ago has become increasingly more relevant now than when I started at Riviera at the age of 18.”
Participation in Propel is compulsory for all Riviera apprentices across the four years of their training, meeting once a month on Friday mornings at 6am. That means a session is held every week for the apprentices at each level.
The program covers about 12 subjects a year designed to build confidence, team culture and leadership, while also giving apprentices essential skills such as setting goals for their career, relationship, finances and life generally.
“The two key areas we find need to be addressed among young people is to give them clarity about what they want in life and how to control their destiny by taking steps now towards meeting their goals,” said Mr Houlahan.
“Learning to articulate what they want out of life is so important as it supports everything they will learn about self-motivation, accountability and decision making.
“Everyone in our team supports the program and believes in its purpose, which is ultimately to set our employees on the right path in life.”
Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst is particularly passionate about the Propel program and the personal success of each Riviera staff member. Mr Longhurst, who started his career as a cabinet maker through an apprenticeship, attends every session on Friday mornings in a hands-on approach that exemplifies his commitment to staff training and development.
“Propel plays a vital role in developing a rich team culture at Riviera, while also giving our apprentices the tools they need to get what they want out of their careers and life,” said Mr Longhurst.
“Putting our young people on the right path is important in its own right and this can open so many doors for them.
“Our philosophy at Riviera is that in order to build world-class motor yachts we need to have world-class people.
“We have the master craftsmen here to share their knowledge and skills in this regard to our apprentices, but we want to make sure that every apprentice is given all the skills in life, from their work, finances and their personal life, to propel themselves forward.”
Riviera apprentice Max Phillips sees the Propel program as helping him manage ‘adult life’.
“It’s teaching me things that I never learned in high school, such as how to save money, what to save for and even how to set goals,” he said.
Apprentice Kial Lunden-Bingham is learning a great deal about keeping a positive mindset.
“Propel really opens your eyes to the real world and helps you stay focused and have clarity about what you want in life,” he said.
Mr Houlahan said the merits of the Propel program are self-evident in the personal and professional growth of apprentices.
“The early stages of the program concentrate on responsibility, being accountable, and the importance of being clear with words, and this is an immediate takeaway that we notice,” he said.
“Our people need to engage with a large team across the production process, from supervisors to Riviera dealers. We are all internal clients whether you work in the lamination department, engineering or the waterfront.
“Propel is an important step for the personal growth of our team members and ultimately this benefits the entire Riviera Family through a rich culture of quality and service delivery.”