PrintNZ has announced the Top 6 apprentices who will contest the BJ Ball Papers Print Apprentice of the Year.

The six finalists will take the stage at this year’s Pride In Print Awards, taking place at Auckland’s Cordis Hotel on June 23. PrintNZ will name the Apprentice of the Year at the event.

The Top 6 Print Apprentices of the Year are:

Paul Coe, MCC Christchurch (formerly Hally Labels) – Reelfed Labels
Tammy Connolly, The Big Picture – Digital (joint)
Catriona Mellows, Display Associates – Digital (joint)
Waka Ropiha, Sealed Air Hamilton – Packaging
Jamie Watson, Printcraft 81 – Sheetfed Offset
Saxon White, Stuff Wellington – Reelfed Offset

Ruth Cobb, chief executive at PrintNZ, says the fact that judges could not separate the two Digital Apprentices of the Year demonstrates the high calibre of candidates. She says, “In fact it wasn’t just the Digital Apprentices that we were unable to separate, it was the Top 6 overall.

“They were all worthy of being recognised as being the best in their sector of the industry and we thought that they all stand a good chance of winning the overall Apprentice of the Year title, so could not deny any of them the opportunity to contest that prize.”

Surprise at recognition

Paul Coe expressed surprise when named one of the country’s best apprentices. He says, “It means a lot and it is nice to know that all the work I put in has been recognised. To be recognised by the whole printing community feels great and humbling.

“My main focus right now is just to put all the skills I have learnt into action and to continue printing quality work at MCC Christchurch. In a few years I might look to get a Diploma in Print Industry Management.

“I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at MCC Christchurch, and to Steven Jack at Competenz, for all of your help and support.”

Hard work pays off

Tammy Connolly feels grateful that her hard work has paid off after making the Top 6. She says, “It means so much to me to be recognised alongside the best in the industry. I feel proud to represent women in the production side of the printing industry. It wasn’t that long ago that this was a male-dominated industry. I would love to be an example of how capable women can be in this industry; not only achieving but achieving with excellence.

“It really was a joint effort and I want everyone to know just how lucky I have been to have the support of The Big Picture and its team of which I take great pride in being a part of.”

Supporting local business

Catriona Mellows says she feels proud to be Display Associates’ first employee to both finish an apprenticeship and to be named Digital Apprentice of the Year.

She says, “I can’t believe I have a career for life, let alone a national title. This not only celebrates my hard work but also allows me to give back to my company who supported me all the way through this.

“Coming from a smaller, family-owned business in Whanganui, it’s crazy to think that I’m in the running for a national title, spanning the entirety of print in New Zealand. I think that people are now realising the importance of supporting local businesses and to be given the opportunity to highlight Display Associates is amazing.”

Anything is achievable

Waka Ropiha describes being a category winner and making the Top 6 as humbling. He says, “This is an experience not felt by many, but it is an experience that all people, regardless of their pathway in life, can obtain.

“Anything and everything is achievable given the correct mindset and focus. I feel truly humbled and honoured to have paved my way to where I am today.”

He pays tribute to Sealed Air. He adds, “Amongst all that they do, our printing department is like a family orientated business. We strive together to make the impossible happen and I think that’s what makes us so unique.”

Incredible honour

James Watson says, “I was filled with pride to receive the award for Apprentice of the Year in Sheetfed Offset, although it came as quite a surprise.

“It is an incredible accolade for me and for Printcraft, proving even the little guys can make waves and achieve great things in this field. Being nominated as an Apprentice of the Year finalist for the print industry is an incredible honour, and really serves to validate all the hard work, research and writing hours that I poured into my apprenticeship.”

“Making the Top 6 is truly one of the biggest highlights and achievements of my working life. The recognition of my hard work and efforts alone, means the absolute world to me.

Thankful to everybody

Saxon White says, “Being named in the Top 6 is truly one of the biggest highlights and achievements of my working life. The recognition of my hard work and efforts alone, means the absolute world to me.

“People want to be praised and know that they are doing a good job most of the time, and having the recognition and support of my colleagues and peers has really emboldened me to see how far I can take my career.

“I just want to add how thankful I am to everybody at Stuff, PrintNZ, Competenz, Pride In Print; all of the people behind the scenes in the industry who mark our assessments, make the workbooks, organise the block courses, drive the culture in the trade and set the standard.”

Leave a comment

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