Vertical Horizonz Group Australia  |  New Zealand  |  Middle East


Our Team

VHA RTO 31160 recognise the importance of trainers to transition learners to new competencies.

Our trainers are recognised subject matter experts in their areas of expertise. They have gained experience from dealing with "real" situations in varying environments and conditions. They are flexible and can tailor the course to meet your specific requirements. They can offer advice and assistance on a broad range of industrial related matters.

All VHA trainers are accredited assessors and all hold a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE 40110). We aim to exceed registered assessor standards.  

Our Quality Management System is overseen by a specialist staff including an  Compliance Manager and a dedicated Quality Assurance team. 

Contract Trainer's 
We are always looking for good Contractor Trainer's, based all around Australia. For more information and an application form contact us at VHA Recruitment, Selection, Employment, Induction and Development policy can be down loaded here.  


Bruce Mazengarb (Chairman)





Bruce has spent a large part of his career in the New Zealand Army. He began as an infantry soldier and spent nine years with the NZ Special Air Service (NZ SAS). Other appointments in the military included chief instructor at the Army Adventure Training School and the NZ Officer Cadet School.

Following Army life Bruce launched Vertical Horizonz Ltd. He has worked at height for more than 20 years and in the past 18 years has specialised in training people in this field. He is based in Ohakune and has leadership roles within the Ruapehu Search and Rescue Group and the Alpine Search and Rescue Team. He is one of the first people to be contacted if someone goes missing on Mount Ruapehu.

As the owner of Vertical Horizonz  the establishment of the Vertical Horizonz Group was a logical progression for Bruce. He has successfully delivered a large number of courses to experienced industry operators and is highly respected in the Training Industry. More...


Chief Executive Officer 

Michael Staal

Michael is an experienced manager with a demonstrated history of working in the education industry. Michael brings his experience, knowledge and skills to support  industry to meet its training needs. See more here ....  


Some of the Trainers 

Anton Daish

Anton has spent 20 years working within the New Zealand Emergency Management/Risk Planning and Training environment. In 1996 Anton was responsible for risk assessment, planning, implementation and management of the emergency preparedness for all hospitals within Christchurch. He evolved this role to become the Operational Planning Officer for the New Zealand Fire Service, Canterbury Region (Region 4).  Anton planned, implemented and undertook 'General Alarms' operational duties for Urban & Rural Fires, Civil Defence and Urban Search and Rescue events and was heavily involved in the Christchurch Earthquake response. He worked on three national project teams looking at current and future Hazmat and Incident Ground Communication requirements for the New Zealand Fire Service.  In 2009 Anton became the Training Manager for the New Zealand Fire Service, Canterbury, Marlborough, Nelson and West Coast Regions within the South Island of New Zealand. He was involved in the design, coordination and delivery of training to New Zealand Fire Service personnel for all conceivable emergencies. Anton became a national contract trainer to the New Zealand Fire Service in 2012. He joined VHNZ as a full time employed trainer in 2013. In 2015 Anton was promoted to the role of Regional and Training Centre Manager. See more here.


Andrew Sykes

Andrew served with the Fire Service in the UK for 16 years at various busy metropolitan stations and gained experience in a wide variety of scenarios. As he worked through the ranks he was able to successfully guide his crews to complete the required objectives in often challenging and stressful situations.  During his later years in the service Andrew helped to set up and lead a Technical Rescue Unit (TRU) with their primary aim of improving both the communities and firefighters' safety. They achieved this increase in safety by developing high levels of skill in various areas including rope, water and urban rescue amongst many others. Aligning an increased knowledge in good practice, legislation and standards to a high level of skill enabled the TRU to develop new rescue techniques previously unable within the Fire Service.  Andrew joined the Vertical Horizonz team in 2014. He trains Professional Development and Emergency Management courses and works as a Vertical Horizonz Regional Training Manager. See more here.


Paul Sherwood

Paul has work on Civil Construction Plant since his childhood working in both the construction and mining industries. After 23 years working his way up as a mobile equipment and crane operator Paul became the senior Dragline Operator for Ulan. He holds Mines Rescue qualifications and was the Deputy Captain of the Mullamuddy Rural Fire Service for 11 years. From 2008 Paul began a career as a trainer and assessor, training and assessing on a large number of construction and mining sites. He maintained his currency with work on a number of these sites. Paul delivers training and assesses units from the Certificate III Surface Extraction Operations and was a High Risk Work Assessor for Dragline and Wheeled Loaders before they were removed from the High Risk Category, Slewing Mobile Cranes (CO) and Dogging (DG). He is currently a High Risk Work Assessor for Cranes (C2, C6, CN), Elevated Work Platforms (+11m) (WP) and Forklift (LF). See more here.


Colin Cassidy

Colin cut his teeth in the Civil Construction industry working for Fulton Hogan in New Zealand, starting as a Labourer/Plant operator and ending up as a team Supervisor. His 13 experience of Civil Construction trade included comprehensive work on large projects. Colin has subject matter knowledge and experience of civil construction plant, particularly that used in road construction and maintenance, earthworks, bitumen sealing (asphalt), pipework and team leadership. In 2009 Colin came to Queensland to work on a number of Civil Construction projects associated with the mining boom. He started training and assessing civil construction plant operators for a number of TAFE. Colin discovered he had the desire and skills to train people to use civil construction plant safely and effectively. Colin has been instructing others to use civil construction plant, including graders, rollers, excavators, skid steer, hoe, front end loader and truck & trailer, since 2013. See more here.


Andrew Smith 
Andrew has spent the last 30 years in road transport, much of it transporting earthmoving plant and equipment. He has been doing local and long haul interstate driving often in 26 Meter B-Doubles. He has extensive experience in the transport of dangerous goods and bulk petroleum products. For the past eight years Andrew has consulted and trained in the civil construction, road transport and gas industries. His current practical experience is sort after. Andrew can provide innovative but uncompromising solutions to these industries. He can write the book. Andrew has undertaken a number of trips to Papua New Guinea and throughout the Pacific to deliver training. He has experience with training people who have limited or no experience of the English Language. See more here.

Micheal Kucera

Michael served 15 years in the Australian Army. He spent the last 6 years of his service as a Transport Sergeant supervising the running of a fleet of 40 vehicles and training and assessing Army drivers. He exited the army as a Driving Instructor and Testing Officer with the experience to design, deliver and assess driving courses, from light to multi combination vehicles. On leaving the army Michael started a small business in driver instruction delivering training for C Class, Light, Medium, Heavy Rigid and Heavy Combination License Classes.  He also delivered safe and defensive heavy vehicle, four wheel drive and car driving and recovery courses for other training organisations, most notably to their petroleum industry clients. Michael's work for other training organisations has grown and he now delivers Diploma of Work Health and Safety, Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety, Certificate III in Driving Operation and Certificate III in Logistics programmes, as well as several shorter Health and Safety and Driving courses on behalf of these organisations. Michael has a passion for the effective and safe, and efficient use of vehicles for commerce. See more here.

Damian Pressnell

Damian brings 30 years of experience working and training in civil engineering and construction for the mining, logging, water management and agriculture industries. Damian's passion is affecting appropriate land management and conservation strategies in context of civil engineering and construction projects minimising environmental impact particularly on water quality. During his career Damian has worked for a number of civil engineering companies on extraction and roading projects in environmentally sensitive areas. Damian started working with Vertical Horizonz in 2014 and has been combining his passion with consultation training ever since. See more here.


Hannah Butcher

Hannah has worked as a laboratory technician, GIS technician and surveyor and physical asset data analyst. Hannah has been responsible for the measurement and recording, and condition grading, of both private and public assets. She is familiar with both the hardware and software of the modern civil construction industry including ArcGIS, Earthmine viewer, Mapinfo, and LP360, spatial statistical software such as R and Netlogo, and AutoCAD. 

Hannah's focus is on environmental management, spatial analysis and modelling. Her knowledge and skills have been selected to enhance and differentiate VHA's courses and programmes in the 21st Century and supplement the delivery of VHA's Plant Operation Subject Matter Experts and trainersSee more here.


Mark Stanley

Mark served 15 years in the Australian Army as a Transport Servicing Officer and Heavy Transport Supervisor. He exited the army as a Driving Instructor and Testing Officer with the experience to design, deliver and assess driving courses, from light to multi combination vehicle, and transport courses, including the carriage of dangerous goods and explosives.

In 2005 Mark brought his military training, experience and skills to the civilian market working as an interstate driver of triple road trains, an operator of quad and power trains out of a number of mine sites and driver of B-Doubles out of the Brisbane wharf. He has worked for VHA as a transport trainer and High Risk Work assessor since 2007. After a stint overseas working as Occupational Health and Safety Superintendent and trainer for Anitua Mining Services, Mark has rejoined the VHA training team as a contracted transport industry trainer and High Risk Work assessor. See more here.

Patrick (Paddy) Fahy

Patrick (Paddy) spent 15 years in the New Zealand Army.  He was a trainer in the RNZ Medical Corp and a detachment commander for RNZ Signals when he left the army in 1991 for a position with a telecommunications provider.   Paddy continued a career in training with his new employer, training clients, including the New Zealand Defence Force and Mighty River Power, to use electronic hardware. He became a Training and Quality Control Manager responsible for the recruitment and training of 120 staff in late 1994.  In late 1996 Paddy returned to the army as a Health and Safety trainer. He left the army as a Sergeant in 2004 to run his own man-management company.  Paddy started to work as a professional high risk work training instructor and assessor from 2007.  Paddy joined the Vertical Horizonz Group as a specialist Work Health and Safety trainer and assessor in 2010. He has helped prepare principals and contractors to meet Work Health and Safety Act requirements in the Construction, Dairy, Energy and Mining Industries both in Australia and New Zealand. See more here.

Wayne Cattell 

After a 10 year career in the Australian Army Wayne exited as a Transport Supervisor. He spent the next 10 years working as a heavy vehicle driver and then Operations Manager within the heavy transport industry.  Since 2002 Wayne has interspaced his civilian career as a Heavy Transport and Health and Safety Manager with work within the training sector delivering practical training into the resources, transport and warehousing sectors. Wayne has joined the VHA training team as a contracted transport industry trainer and High Risk Work assessor. Wayne works as an embedded trainer within a logistics team in Brisbane. See more here.

Sonya Francis 

Sonya has served 30 years in the Australian Army as a Sergeant specialising in High Risk Licenses (HRWL) and is currently serving as the subject matter expert on Material Handler Equipment for the Third Brigade. She is also the Repair Parts Store Sergeant & EMEOPS Sergeant, which puts her in charge of managing all work orders, time sheets and back log reports for tradesmen; these are both practical operational roles. Sonya has been teaching on pavement forklift for 4 years and on telehandlers for close to 14 years. She works as an embedded trainer within the Australian Army and as a contract trainer in her free time. Sonya has been aligned with Vertical Horizonz since 2012 providing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the team. See more here.

David (Dave) Maiden

From 1986 to 2001 Dave served in the RAAF as a Communication and Electronics Technician where his duties were to maintain, operate and train on HF, VHF and UHF communications systems, navigation aids, surveillance and approach radars and air traffic control systems. Dave was posted to Brisbane in 1997 where he was responsible for the base ICT, network systems and Information Technology upgrade projects. Dave then worked for Queensland Health on ICT operations and a variety of Information Technology projects building his experience base in Project Delivery, Enterprise Systems Monitoring, Systems Administration and industry based training. During this time Dave was involved in the production and delivery of a number of professional training packages for specific technical systems and government certified qualifications including the Diploma of Project Management, Certificate IV Training and Education, ITIL, Prince 2 and technical vendor specific training. See more here.



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