Josh Crawford, the Trust4Skills Reelfed Apprentice of the Year, from Stuff, Petone, took out the overal PrintNZ Apprentice of the Year at the Pride In Print Awards on Friday night.

Other training award recipients included Ovato as Training Company of the Year and Ross Craig of Jenkins Freshpac as Trainer of the Year. The other apprentice finalists were: Sanjay Daji of Stratex, Auckland, the BJ Ball Papers Packaging Apprentice of the Year; Tania Westbury ofInkwise, Christchurch, the Print Finishers’ Association Binding And Finishing Apprentice of the Year; Hayley Young of James Print in Greymouth, the Heidelberg Digital Apprentice of the Year (Joint); and Sarah Knight of The Big Picture in Wellington. BJ Ball sponsors the Apprentice of the Year.

Crawford, now a press operator at Stuff, Crawford says he feels humbled. He says, “When I first got the letter to say I had made the top 10, I thought how cool it was but I never realised how big it would be.

“It feels pretty surreal, a little bit weird. It is also a relief now that it is over. I feel a weight has come off my shoulders.”

Crawford, aged 33 years, grew up in nearby Wainuiomata. He says he took a while to crack the apprenticeship. He says, “I had a few setbacks before I started at the Dominion, which became Stuff. I was in a job that I wanted to leave.

“My partner Helena’s uncle was a supervisor at the Dominion and I asked him if he could give me a job here. I was willing to do anything. I didn’t care what it was, I really enjoyed working in print. Eventually Ricky Baker hit me up to start the apprenticeship. I was stoked when he did that and I wanted to do the best I could.

I now have the opportunity to complete a Diploma in Print Management. I want to go as far as I can, even though I like being one of the boys. I like the pressure at work.

His supervisor at Stuff, Hersha Werakoon, says, “Josh has the ability to do go on from here and do anything he wants to do. He is pretty much the experienced printer now.”

Crawford adds, “Sometimes I can be quite nit-picky with things. I do take pride in my work. If there is a mistake, I take it pretty hard. I want to produce high quality print. As tradesperson you never stop learning. Now the other guys at work are happy for me to go about learning the job and getting it done.”

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