Last year's Apprentice of the Year Josh Crawford from Stuff Wellington

The high calibre of candidates, and a desire to recognise the broadening shape of the New Zealand print industry, has resulted in PrintNZ naming an unprecedented Top 12 Apprentices of the Year finalists for 2020.

Ruth Cobb, general manager PrintNZ, laments that, given this year marked both the debut of signmakers and specialty graphics and the difficulty judges had narrowing down the quality candidates, they could not receive due peer recognition at the traditional Graduation Ceremonies.

She says, “Even prior to the prime minister’s Level One covid-19 announcement on March 14, PrintNZ had taken the decision, with much regret, that we would cancel the upcoming ceremonies.

“For the safety of our industry and communities, we needed to show leadership and make that decision, and subsequently, that call has of course been validated by the rapid escalation to Level Four.

“However, an unavoidable and unfortunate consequence is we haven’t been able to announce the Top 12 in deserved fashion in front of their families, friends and colleagues.

“We very much want to ensure the Top 12 receive the full prestige that their dedicated and outstanding efforts warrant. Their Competenz training advisors and employers and managers alike have praised them in the highest terms, and we encourage the industry and our media stakeholders to afford due recognition to these very worthy finalists.”

She says the decision to encompass signmakers and speciality graphics in the Top 12 arises from PrintNZ providing leadership as appropriate and keeping at the forefront of evolutions within the sector. She explains, “There are many overlapping areas within sign and print – in many cases the work is produced on the same machinery, with printers making signs and signmakers doing printing.

“As our industry continues to evolve, so too should our celebrations of people and products and so we are thrilled this year for the first time to have two signmaking graduates included in our Top 12.”

“However, the Top Five Apprentices of the Year will have to wait for the exhilaration of appearing on stage at the Pride In Print Awards Evening.”

For further information please email PrintNZ general manager Ruth Cobb at [email protected] or phone 027 248 9404.

Expanded from the traditional Top 10, this year’s Top 12 apprentices are:

•       Parth Bhatt of McHargs, Christchurch (Binding and Finishing)

•       Thomas Bloxham of Southern Colour Print, Dunedin (Binding and Finishing)

•       Aleshia Edens of James Print, Greymouth (Digital Printing)

•       Vanessa Hooton of Tainui Press, Matamata (Digital Printing)

•       Ryan Scott-Fellows of Hally Labels, Christchurch (Reelfed Printing)

•       Emma Maxwell of EIL, Christchurch (Screen Printing)

•       David O’Brien of Sign Network, Christchurch (Signmaking)

•       Nurudin Pelenda of Ovato, Auckland (Sheetfed Printing)

•       Bonny Seymour of the Gisborne Herald, Gisborne (Reelfed Printing)

•       Matthew Stockford of Gravure Packaging, Wellington (Reelfed Printing)

•       Koshy Thomas of Oji Fibre Solutions Paper Bag Auckland (Reelfed Printing)

•       Kadin Woods of Mirage Visual, Palmerston North (Signmaking)

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