GBP Cranes & Heavy Haulage managing director Stuart Grosser quietly ticked over a milestone for the ages recently – 50 years since completing his trade certificate.

The Gunnedah team hosted a surprise morning tea for the occasion, complete with a copy of his 1975 “fitting and fabrication course” certificate.

Half a century since completing that training, Mr Grosser said it has been a “wild ride” with big changes in the GBP company and across the industry.

“A lot has happened during that time – the town has grown, we’ve grown …” he said.

Mr Grosser was “just a kid” and 16 years old when his apprenticeship started but he distinctly remembered that first pay cheque.

“My first pay packet was $18.79 and $12-a-week board had to come out of that as well,” he recalled.

GBP was originally founded as Gunnedah Building Products in 1975 and specialised in the production of concrete Besser blocks.

Mr Grosser said those early days were in stark contrast to the 50-plus employees and more than 60 items of operational equipment managed in the company now.

“It was just a small family business owned by John Gibson back then – there were only three of us in the workshop when we started,” he said.

The three were Mr Gibson, Mr Grosser and Laurence Wallace.

Gibson Engineering had been operating since the 1950s. Then in the early 1970s Mr Gibson and Bruce Hawkins started GBP Cranes and later invited Mr Grosser and Mr Wallace to be co-directors.

The future is bright for the GBP team too with new apprentices starting this year and a busy work schedule ahead of them.

Mr Grosser encouraged school leavers and others looking to re-skill to consider a trade qualification.

The industry veteran said trade certificates still hold as much relevance today as when he completed his training in 1975.

“It is still worth having a trade behind you,” he said.

GBP Cranes & Heavy Haulage employs local people and promotes supporting local businesses, sporting clubs and charities.

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