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Top 5 AotY Unveiled

Outstanding candidates Alexander Cameron-Brown, Travis Jordan, Craig Murray, Todd Nicholls and Karl Pearson have been named the Top 5 Print Apprentices of the Year.

One will ultimately be bestowed with the BJ Ball Papers Print Industry Apprentice of the Year Award on stage at the 2021 Pride In Print Awards gala dinner, being held in Auckland on June 25.

PrintNZ chief executive Ruth Cobb says the calibre of these apprentices came to the fore in the uniquely-difficult circumstances of completing their studies during last year’s onset of the global pandemic.

“Some had to continue to go to work under extreme pressure and others weren’t able to go to work at all,” says Ms Cobb.

“These apprentices also lost the face-to-face visits from their Competenz training advisors through this time and only had virtual support from that side.

“Furthermore, the businesses they worked for also had to endure intense pressures – working under far from ‘business as usual’ circumstances. But they also worked around it and enabled their apprentices to complete the requirements of their learning.

“Despite all of these challenges, these apprentices continued on to complete their studies – and not just to pass – but to do so at the exceptional level they had demonstrated right throughout their apprenticeships.

“PrintNZ is extremely impressed by the contribution and performance of all parties and it speaks volumes to the mettle and talent in abundance within our industry.”

An introduction to the Top 5 Apprentices of the Year

A production manager with Auckland firm Peacock Brothers, Alexander Cameron-Brown says he particularly enjoys the problem-solving aspect of his role.

“ … trying to figure out how to do new and exciting things with our team and machinery,” he says.

“What I enjoyed most about my apprenticeship was building my skillset within a growing organisation and finding new ways to build my role and be a part of an excellent team.

“I am very excited and grateful to be a part of the Top 5. It is an incredible honour to represent Peacock Brothers and our wonderful team, showcasing not only the work that I put in but the work that our team put in helping me to achieve this goal.”

A digital team member of Auckland’s Soar Print, Travis Jordan says he has been “blown away” to be named in the Top 5.

“I’m still trying to process that I’ve been nominated for such an incredible accolade and I truly believe my passion, that continues to grow, reflects what I’ve been able to achieve thus far,” he says.

“To be able to share the future of the print industry with the other Top 5 candidates, who are all experts in their fields, is a pleasure to be a part of. The future of print is in good hands – watch this space.

“I’m very glad and am forever grateful Soar has given me the opportunity to pursue an apprenticeship. I was apprehensive at first and quite honestly scared of the commitment and the homework.

“But I could not pass up the opportunity and have had nothing but continued support and have been fortunate enough to have been mentored by some truly incredible and talented people within my time.”

Currently on a pandemic-enforced sabbatical from Christchurch firm Global Culture, Craig Murray says he most enjoys the “constant challenge” posed by printing.

“There are so many variables to screen printing,” says the assistant head printer.

“You can print the same job ten times and every time there is a new problem to solve. It never gets old, there are always new skills and techniques to learn.”

Mr Murray adds that he is “incredibly proud and honoured” to be named in the Top 5.

“It is very humbling to say the least. But I wouldn’t have been here without the support of my amazing wife Simone.

“I know that all of the nominees have had to make sacrifices and overcome many challenges to get our achievements. COVID has not helped matters in any shape or form.

“I wish all my fellow nominees all the best for their future and am very proud and honored to be standing next to them as we all start the next exciting chapter in our lives.”

A printer and assistant with Masterton-based Webstar, Todd Nicholls says being named in the Top 5 is “great for me and also great for Webstar”.

“It shows hard work pays off!” he says.

In regard to the apprenticeship experience itself, Mr Nicholls says he enjoyed “every part” of being able to run a 64-page heatset web press.

“I also enjoy leading a crew of five on the press to achieve the best quality product on a daily basis, while learning from skilled individuals.”

A prepress/digital printer with Masterton firm Printcraft 81, Karl Pearson says he has very much valued the apprenticeship programme and is “flattered” by the nomination.

“I enjoyed the research of different systems/techniques that I would not normally get the chance to come across and the freedom of putting forward my units in a way that wasn’t restricted by client design briefs,” he says.

“This allowed me to try and experiment with layout and colour/image choices. I feel that I have a lot more to learn, but it has given me the foundation and the confidence to push on and look at things from a different perspective.”

The Top 5 Print Apprentices of the Year

· Alexander Cameron-Brown, Peacock Brothers (Auckland) – BJ Ball Papers Packaging Apprentice of the Year

· Travis Jordan, Soar Print (Auckland) – GAPF Digital Apprentice of the Year (joint)

· Craig Murray, Global Culture (Christchurch) – Trust4Skills Screenprint Apprentice of the Year

· Todd Nicholls, Webstar (Masterton) – Heidelberg Offset Apprentice of the Year

· Karl Pearson, Printcraft 81 (Masterton) – GAPF Digital Apprentice of the Year (joint)

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