Last Thursday, at its Auckland Training Graduations ceremony, PrintNZ announced the sector winners for the Apprentice of the Year Awards and the finalists for the Trainer of the Year and training Company of the Year.

The Top Five:

BJ Ball Label Printing Apprentice of the Year: Amit Shankar, Labelmakers, Hamilton
Heidelberg Packaging Apprentice of the Year: Levi Lindsey, MCC Auckland
PrintNZ Binding & Finishing Apprentice of the Year: Kathryn Wheeler, Freedom Plus, Palmerston North
GAPF Digital Apprentice of the Year: Anna Hodge, Be My Guest Design, Dunedin
Trust4Skills Reelfed Apprentice of the Year: George Cunningham, Allied Press, Dunedin

Ruth Cobb, chief executive officer PrintNZ, says, “While each of them are individual winners in their own right, they will also now go on to compete for the overall title of BJ Ball Print Apprentice of the Year. We will announce the Apprentice of the Year 2023 at the Pride In Print Awards on July 12 in Wellington.

“Last week, we also announced our Trainer of the Year and Training Company of the Year Finalists as follows:

Trainer of the Year
Cheyne Lesa, Blue Star Wellington
Jason Marshall, MCC Auckland
Rob Ellis, MCC Albany
Sam Kay, Labelmakers

Training Company of the Year
Blue Star Wellington
Graphic Packaging Auckland
Inkwise Print Partners, Christchurch
MCC Albany
MCC Auckland

“We will name the winners of these two awards at the Pride In Print Awards gala dinner.

“We also announced the winner of the Print Diploma Student of the Year which went to Wiiliam Olsen from Labelmakers in Hamilton.”

Comments from the BJ Ball Apprentice of the Year Top Five finalists:

George Cunningham – “It is astounding, never having come so far with something before. It’s been such a personal achievement for me.

“Raising young family members amongst the constant thoughts of understanding something going on at work on the press. I was literally mind blown at the graduation ceremony and just so chuffed when my six-year-old son told me he was proud of me!

“As a parent we do a lot for our kids and I always had hoped seeing his dad achieve would be a big aid in his vision for himself. I am grateful for the support I have received from Allied Press management and my co-workers.”

Anna Hodge – “I took on the apprenticeship as a personal challenge and to find some way to diversify my career. I would describe myself as an introverted-introvert so being recognised for my work in this way doesn’t come naturally to me.

“I am honoured to be announced in the Top 5 and I am looking forward to finding the next project to sink my teeth into. I am always keen to learn new skills and challenge myself to see what I can achieve next, whatever that may be. Also, I must acknowledge the contribution of Competenz account manager Steven Jack to my apprenticeship.”

Levi Lindsey – “Prior to working at MCC Auckland I did not have the slightest idea as to the significance of the print industry. I am humbled by the recognition. I have always felt like I’ve put my best foot forward in any circumstance, but it is sometimes a challenge to give 110 per cent when you are your own cheerleader.

“This award has made me realise the unwavering support I’ve not only had from my family and friends, my workplace and colleagues, but also from the training industry in particular, with a special shout out going to Grant Alsop from Competenz.

“With what I’ve achieved thus far I now know that all the sacrifices and hard work have not been for nothing, and that my efforts have been recognised.”

Amit Shankar – “This is a great honour and recognition of hard work and dedication. It means that my efforts have been noticed and appreciated by others in the industry. I am still fascinated by the intricate work produced by Labelmakers, which has a priority for collaboration and building strong relationships within the team.

“They are always willing to lend a helping hand and support their colleagues, creating a positive and supportive work environment. This aspect of Labelmakers sets it apart from other companies and makes it a great place to work.”

Kathryn Wheeler – “I still can’t believe it. Being named in the Top 5 is an incredible honour. Thank you for the opportunity. There are so many people who have also put in the hard work.

“The most enjoyable aspect for me was putting my knowledge to paper and realising that I knew more than I thought. The most challenging part was going to our Levin branch (Graphic Press) and learning how to operate the collator, stitcher and trimmer machines.

“We have a great team at Freedom Plus. We all work well together under pressure and we all have a strong bond, like a family.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *