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Printlink’s Lesa Named Apprentice of the Year

Printlink’s Lesa Named Apprentice of the Year

Bindery tradesman Cheyne Lesa of Petone (Wellington)-based Printlink was named the 2014 PrintNZ Apprentice of the Year at a well-attended Pride In Print Awards Evening held at Wellington’s TSB Arena on May 1.

In a very respectful acceptance speech, Mr Lesa made a large roll-call of acknowledgements, beginning with his fellow finalists and ending with special tribute to his family and girlfriend for “all of the positive advice you have given me on this journey”.

“I really have to give it over to the other four finalists -- I have got to know them over the past day or so, they are really lovely people and any one of us could have won it,” he said.

In thanking his trainers and company management, Mr Lesa noted: “They have taught me so much and been so supportive, it made the whole journey so much easier for me -- I have enjoyed the whole process.”

Reflecting on his thoughts prior to the apprenticeship -- which he has undertaken over the past five of his 11-year career in the industry -- Mr Lesa noted: “Before, when I was an assistant, I knew my capabilities could be better and that’s what drove me to succeed.”

Printlink bindery manager Tom Jennings said Mr Lesa had essentially followed in family footsteps when joining the firm, which is a division of Blue Star Group New Zealand.

“So he started off in that way and then I think when he saw what other people could do he thought ‘I can do that better’.

“He is one of those special guys -- he is lovely, always willing to do what he is asked and never moans. He attracts people, he is a leader and has a lovely family.”

While acknowledging that Mr Lesa’s achievement reflected positively on the training systems that Printlink has in place, Mr Jennings nonetheless shone the spotlight back on the Apprentice of the Year himself.

“A guy still has to have the ability ... it’s the ability and mana that he has.”

Mr Jennings added that Printlink and all of its staff will very much share in his success.

“You could hear by the noise when he received it!”

Describing Mr Lesa as a “very worthy winner”, PrintNZ chairperson Dan Blackbourn nonetheless said this year’s decision was a “very close call” given the extremely-high calibre of Finalists.

The other 2015 PrintNZ Apprentice of the Year Finalists were:

•Drew Solakof (from EIL, a division of Permark Industries Ltd)

•Brent Martens (from Gallagher Group Ltd)

•Wayne Robinson (from Huhtamaki Henderson)

•Rachael Smith (from @ TGM Creative)

PrintNZ general manager Ruth Cobb said it was always a highlight of her role to work with training partner Competenz and sponsor BJ Ball Papers, to select the Finalists and overall Award Winner.

“Cheyne is a very worthy representative of the title of Apprentice of the Year and we know he will have a hugely successful career in our industry, as will the other four finalists. It is fantastic to see the calibre of people and the passion they have for their training, for the businesses they work in and for the industry.”


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