Sparky Reece Thrift driven by ambition

For Reece Thrift, all things electrical are in the blood.

Having watched his father Paul build a successful electrical and air-conditioning business, Reece’s fate was sealed from a young age.

“I always knew I was going to do a trade because I much prefer hands-on than theory, but that fact never diminished the emphasis I put on my education at Moree Secondary College,” Reece says.

“MSC gave me so many opportunities, from sporting to academic, and I participated in activities from soccer, swimming, triathlon, cross-country and tennis on both an individual and team basis.

“At school, I achieved success in maths, woodwork, metalwork and agriculture – and although I knew I wanted to do a trade, these hands-on subjects gave me great exposure to the variety of opportunities and industries available through trade.”

With woodwork and metalwork his subjects of choice, Reece said he formed a great relationship with Mr Phillips, who he considers one of his favourite teachers.

However, he says developing relationships with most teachers over both campuses was ‘easy’ due to the small school community and teachers’ willingness to assist students at any time.

Reece finished Year 10 in 2016 and continued his schooling until the end of first term in 2017.

“I was offered an apprenticeship as an electrician in the family business and, after much deliberation, decided to leave school early and pursue that,” Reece said.

Apprentice electrician Reece Thrift.

“Deciding to leave school early was a big decision and one not taken lightly. I know mum and dad would have liked for me to finish Year 12, although they made it very clear that it was my decision – it was one that I couldn’t renege on if I decided after a few months it really wasn’t what I wanted.”

Reece did however stay long enough to compete in State Swimming in Sydney with the MSC boys relay team – it was a case of not wanting to let his team down.

His parents, Paul and Melita, now admit that since leaving school, Reece hasn’t looked back.

“Since leaving school I’m a fulltime electro-technology apprentice, going into my third year,” Reece said.

The young dynamo has also started a grounds maintenance business after hours and on weekends.

Averaging 16 hours work per weekend and earning more money than through his apprenticeship, Reece has a strong repeat client base that has him booked out for weeks in advance, with his maintenance including everything from hedging, mowing lawns, clearing gutters, small tree lopping jobs and general yard clean-ups.

 Reece believes there is a world of opportunity awaiting ambitious, young men and women willing to have a go.

“My goals are to finish my electrical apprenticeship then follow on with a refrigeration and air-conditioning trade – giving me dual trades,” he said.

“One day I’d love to take over the family business, but we’ll see!

“In addition, I’d like to grow my grounds maintenance business ultimately having sufficient staff to operate it full-time.”

Reece’s short-term goals also include continuing to expand his share portfolio, and he recently ticked off another significant milestone, purchasing his first investment property.

And father, Paul, couldn’t be more proud.

“He’s doing pretty well for an 18-year-old, and it’s all off his own back and hard work,” Paul said.

“At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you’re an academic or practical person, if you have the drive and willingness to have a go, you really can achieve whatever you want.”

Going away to boarding school was discussed, however MSC has everything to offer and more and by staying home and being locally educated Reece was able to get an after school job at WMG Ag Services when he was 14, assist tennis coaching with Margie Buckley and mow lawns in his spare time.

These jobs were such an important stepping stone, providing Reece with a level base for the work-play factor in life.

“Reece is the classic example of ‘you don’t have to do your HSC to be successful’,” Paul said.

“If you want to achieve and you have the ambition and support, you can achieve anything.

“Uni students will generally have HECs debts to repay – Reece earns an income while completing a trade and will have no debt associated with his qualifications once completed.

“Funnily enough, once he has successfully completed his trade, that will allow him to go to University to study should he desire – there are so many pathways to Uni without getting the required HSC result.”

Reece said he is extremely grateful for the opportunities he had through his local education.

“I feel really privileged to be able to work in Moree, close to family doing something I really enjoy,” he said.

“MSC was instrumental in facilitating my path and I have nothing but the best memories and friends from my time there, and I am glad that I had my parent’s full support during my high school years and beyond.

“Being educated here in Moree, I was able to watch my dad build his business, learn from him and ultimately work with him.

“These are opportunities I never would have had if I’d have gone away to school.”

And with ambition on his side, and a demonstrated work ethic, there’s little doubt Reece Thrift will achieve all his future goals, and many, many more.

Words and Image: Georgina Poole