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Enthusiastic Audience Embraces Auckland Graduation

Enthusiastic Audience Embraces Auckland Graduation

Cameras flashed and whoops of support abounded as an enthusiastic crowd of friends, family, colleagues and employers alike lapped up PrintNZ’s Training Graduation Ceremony at Central Auckland’s Heritage Hotel last night [April 22]..

Hotel staff were sent scurrying to find extra chairs to accommodate the larger-than-expected gathering of towards 200 that witnessed over 90 presentations to those who had successfully completed a PrintNZ training programme in 2014 within the North Island.

In her introductory remarks, PrintNZ general manager Ruth Cobb emphasised that “print is everywhere and touched by everyone, everyday”, including in the less obvious examples of clothing tags, street signs and remote control buttons.

“We cannot live in a world without print and it requires skilled workers to produce these products,” said Ms Cobb.

“Today we are here to celebrate those that have made the commitment to formalise their skills. And those aren’t just the core printing skills, we have people in the room who have completed programmes in sales, first line management, business administration and the Print Management Diploma.”

PrintNZ chairperson Dan Blackbourn paid a special note of acknowledgement to the support groups who had contributed to each graduate’s achievements and welcomed their participation in the second graduation ceremony.

Following the presentation of Level 2 through to Level 5 qualifications, the ceremony acknowledged the Apprentice of the Year Award semi-finalists and five finalists, and then moved onto five speciality awards.

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Receiving the Diploma Student of the Year Award was Galyna Masyk from CHH Specialty Boards & Boxes, who impressively progressed from completing Level 2 to Level 5 qualifications in the same year. Despite an added language challenge -- having only recently emigrated from the Ukraine -- Ms Masyk was hailed as a fast-paced worker who now commanded an important role in her firm and was seen as a “go-to” person.

Clearly overwhelmed by the occasion, Ms Masyk commented: “I’m so excited, it was unexpected. I like studying and it was much more interesting to do this Level 5 Diploma with the planning and finance aspects being closer to what I know about.”

Trainer of the Year went to Phil Ost from NZME, who was noted as bringing a particularly personal approach to his role and being considered a “trainer, mentor and friend” to his staff, within whom he strives to foster a culture of success.

“I’m absolutely rapt,” he said.

“There is a lot of dedication to try and motivate the apprentices. I’m also hands-on as I work on the night shift with them. I’m just honest with them and listen to what they have to say.”

Mr Ost was commended for having also personally developed NZME’s in-house training programme which works in complement to the CMITO course requirements.

“All of our apprentices have a 26-week programme which they rotate through. We try to make sure they visit all of the different departments -- fitters, plate room, publishing and electrical -- so they have more insight as to what is going on throughout the company.”

Training Company of the Year, Permark Industries, was heralded as having developed an extensive portfolio of trainees across all departments, which had contributed to a significant improvement in productivity and quality. Additionally, the firm was noted to have encouraged staff to contribute improvement ideas, with one of its measures of success being to promote to senior positions from within..

Permark Industries owner David Jack said he was “particularly delighted” to have earned the award given the quality of training undertaken by other companies in the industry.

“Historically, our pre-press people have always had good qualifications and with the printers I think we’ve had about one a year in apprenticeships,” he said.

“But that’s only about a third of our company. One of the things we realised is that unless you have training across your company, then your quality is only as good [as the weakest link].

“We are doing more now with fewer people and it goes out the door easily.

“The training also gives people a confidence to speak up, to understand what they are doing. We have a lot of people who came out of school without a qualification and it is nice to be able to give them at least a Level 2.”

Mr Jack added that he was impressed by the number of people at the ceremony -- noting some had travelled a considerable distance.

“It is nice to reward training and hopefully that gets more people involved.”

Ashley Pollard from Lighting Labels was recognised as the top reelfed label apprentice, in being bestowed with the Jenkins Award.

“I’m very grateful,” said Mr Pollard.

“I put in a lot of work and effort, and had a lot of support from my boss, workmates, people in the industry and my wife.

“I’ve been in the industry for about 12 years ... I wanted to create something that looked good.”

Looking ahead, Mr Pollard said he was considering undertaking the Management Diploma but also still enjoyed working on the presses. He also expressed pleasant surprise at the size of the gathering.

“It’s really good to see the industry training people. It is really positive.

“Thanks to PrintNZ for putting on some great courses and backing everyone and putting some pressure on the industry to train people. Because it is easy enough just to sit back and let someone else do the job, so good on them for bringing it under the spotlight.”

Rachael Smith from printing.com @ TGM Creative was recognised as the top digital apprentice, being bestowed with the GAPF Award including a $2000 contribution to further training.

“I’m still shaking and processing to be honest,” said Ms Smith.

“This is awesome, this is absolutely amazing. I really love doing my job so to get three certificates and two trophies is the cherry on the top.

“Thank you to everyone who has been involved and I really recommend doing it. It was really good to be able to look at the print industry as a whole, rather than just seeing your role.”

In parting, Competenz chief executive John Blakey congratulated the individuals who had committed to training and the businesses who were promoting training to “help people of all ages get the skills to help New Zealand become a more productive economy”.

“Through industry training a large number of people enter the workplace and gain skills that help them go right through their life and have careers that are fantastic,” he said.

“Don’t think of the training you have just completed as the end of where you are -- it is the beginning of a career and is the opportunity to continue to keep on learning, training and own your own business or go all the way through to senior management in large companies.”

The five Apprentice of the Year Finalists will be brought onto stage and the ultimate winner announced on Pride In Print Awards Night at Wellington’s TSB Arena next Friday [May 1].

ENDS

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