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Countdown for Next Apprentice of the Year

Countdown for Next Apprentice of the Year

A shortlist of New Zealand’s finest print talent will be counting down the days to the industry’s annual gala event, as five finalists await to hear who will be named the PrintNZ Apprentice of the Year at SkyCity on May 13.

Entailing both relatively-new and more-established servants to the sector, the worthy finalists also represent a good geographic spread of quality print firms from around the country, notes PrintNZ general manager Ruth Cobb.

“Each apprentice has been strongly supported by their employers as they seek to advance their own careers and in turn further the entire industry, and all have most certainly repaid that faith by being named a finalist in this prestigious award,” says Ms Cobb.

Andrew Jenkins, Quality Print (Taupo)

Having stacked grocery shelves with goods enhanced by the industry’s output during his teens, Andrew was inspired to enter the sector when discovering the passion and quality of craft that went into that production.

“I enjoy finishing a job and seeing what I have created,” he says.

“Fortunately I work in a business that is small enough that I get to be a part of almost every stage of the print process. From making my own plates to printing the job, to diecutting, creasing, folding or cutting the job down to size. Learning the whole process is something I enjoyed about the apprenticeship training.”

Harbouring ambitions to ultimately achieve ownership or part ownership of a print business, Andrew says winning the award would “give me more confidence to complete my career goals”..

“It would also give me reassurance that the decisions I have been making to forward my career are a step in the right direction.”

Quality Print director Shawn Vennell expresses delight at Andrew’s development and maturity.

“To see an apprentice take care in all the periphery detail such as deadlines, the where and why of subcontractors and outsourcing logistics has simply been a breath of fresh air,” says Shawn.

“Having a staff member like Andrew allows a company director to concentrate on the direction of the business rather than micromanaging or even putting out fires!”

Sione Taueli Tonga, Stratex (Auckland)

Another relatively-new entrant to the industry, Sione has found the intricacies of ink performance, the prepress process and how to readily trouble-shoot issues as challenging and enjoyable aspects of his learnings.

Having spent a few years making ends meet in jobs after emigrating to New Zealand, Sione says winning the award would be a “dream come true”.

“I always wanted a job with a career path that would give me the opportunity to give my wife and kids a better life and a job I could come home from and feel like I had achieved something,” he says.

“This achievement would not only make me proud but would be a huge testimony to my extended family, friends and Tongan community that this kind of accolade is possible if you’re prepared to do the hard work.”

Despite juggling family commitments (having three children) and church community work, Sione completed all assignments eight months earlier than required and has “always made himself available for overtime”, says Stratex print manager Ross Halliday.

“Sione is a self-motivated person and has a lot of drive to succeed in all tasks he takes on, he also has a great sense of humour -- not a day goes by where you don’t hear him busting out into song while he’s working or sharing a joke with fellow staff,” says Ross.

“Right from day one when offered the apprenticeship Sione told me he would be up on stage competing for the Apprentice of the Year Award -- and he has not disappointed.”

Faanuualii Suafoa (Fanu), PMP Print (Auckland)

Initially facing some challenges after emigrating to New Zealand, Fanu says through the support of PMP Print and the apprenticeship experience, his eyes have fully opened to the opportunities before him.

“My goal is to climb up the leadership ladder, to become a good operator and become a supervisor,” he says.

“When I have a lot of knowledge and experience in the printing industry, in the future I want to become a business man and own a small printing business in Samoa.”

Fanu says winning the award would be a “great milestone”.

“I feel very proud and honoured to have such a great opportunity to win this achievement as it is a good example for my kids, my young co-workers -- especially our Pacific Islanders -- of what to look forward to and strive for in their future careers in the printing industry.”

PMP Print site manager Craig Harrison says Fanu has been an “excellent worker” throughout his apprenticeship.

“We saw initiative and a drive in him to work hard and smart that secured him the apprenticeship rather than any of his peers or an outside candidate,” says Craig.

“He has an ability to inspire his crews and gain the best from them and is always willing to teach others that work around him. He will go far in his career and all I can hope for is that he is with PMP for as long as I’m here.”

Paul Falvey, Printlink (Wellington)

With a family history in the industry, Paul admits to having developed a “fascination” with everything to do with print and has taken great satisfaction in applying his learned skills to producing quality products.

“Learning on the job in a big business is very challenging,” he says.

“You have to be able to learn how to operate machinery quickly because even though you are learning there are still schedules that have to be met, leaving a very small margin for error.”

With ambitions to broaden his knowledge of the business and the wider industry, Paul says winning the award would provide a great sense of accomplishment and “reinforce the notion that anything can be achieved with hard work, patience and perseverance”.

Hot off the heels of his firm taking out last year’s Apprentice of the Year Award with Cheyne Lesa, Printlink factory manager Mathew Webster says Paul is also demonstrating all-round ability and has developed into a “complete bindery tradesperson”.

“I think Paul’s attitude, attention to detail, flexibility and work ethic are all traits that set Paul apart from the rest,” he says.

“Since Paul started his apprenticeship he has displayed a willingness to want to learn more and has always given 110% in everything that he puts his hand to. Paul is a patient young man who in the face of adversity has shown he is able to remain calm and in control, which is imperative in this ever-changing industry.”

Martin Maunsell, Orora Packaging (Christchurch)

After 14 years in the print finishing and carton folding areas, Martin says it has been a challenge to experience being the “boy” on the floor again, albeit he had “goals to motivate”.

“The most enjoyable part of my training is when I need to problem solve and can get the right result without needing help -- showing my trainer that I’m improving,” he says.

“My ambitions are to be a part of Orora and contribute to its success. I would like to help as many people as I can join this company and have the chance to learn the skills that were shared with me.

“Winning would mean I’m on the right track, that the values I hold close are the ones needed for success.”

Orora Packaging production supervisor Graeme Challis says Martin has “the ability to master whatever machine/trade that is put in front of him”, having already collected various skills and qualifications over the years.

“He is very valued and liked by all that surround him,” says Graeme.

“During the last year of Martin’s Level 4 finishing programme he expressed an interest in machine performance statistics and management practices. Martin has since started the Diploma in Print Management.

“Martin really enjoys the people he works with whether it’s comradery, training or learning. I see these attributes combined with his interest in the diploma to be a great combination to become an asset to our industry in the future.”


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