High Calibre

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AUCKLAND, Today: An “exceptionally high” calibre of candidates – combined with the desire to recognise the broadening shape of the NZ print industry – has resulted in PrintNZ naming an unprecedented 12 Apprentices of the Year finalists for 2020.

Expanded from a traditional Top 10, this year’s Top 12 is:

  1. Parth Bhatt of McHargs Christchurch (Binding and Finishing)
  2. Thomas Bloxham of Southern Colour Print Dunedin (Binding and Finishing)
  3. Aleshia Edens of James Print Greymouth (Digital Printing)
  4. Vanessa Hooton of Tainui Press Matamata (Digital Printing)
  5. Ryan Scott-Fellows of Hally Labels Christchurch (Reelfed Printing)
  6. Emma Maxwell of EIL Christchurch (Screen Printing)
  7. David O’Brien of Sign Network Christchurch (Signmaking)
  8. Nurudin Pelenda of Ovato Auckland (Sheetfed Printing)
  9. Bonny Seymour of The Gisborne Herald (Reelfed Printing)
  10. Matthew Stockford of Gravure Packaging Wellington (Reelfed Printing)
  11. Koshy Thomas of Oji Fibre Solutions Paper Bag Auckland (Reelfed Printing)
  12. Kadin Woods of Mirage Visual Palmerston North (Signmaking)

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

“Even prior to the Prime Minister’s Level 1 Covid-19 announcement on March 14, PrintNZ had taken the decision, with much regret, that we would cancel the upcoming ceremonies,” Cobb said.

“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 4.

“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 are thrilled this year to have two signmaking grads in our top 12.”

“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/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.”

Expanding on this year’s decision to encompass signmakers/speciality graphics in the Top 12, Cobb says PrintNZ strives to provide leadership as appropriate and keep at the forefront of evolutions within the sector.

“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.”

In similar vein, Cobb says given the top 5 Apprentices of the Year will likely miss out on the exhilaration of appearing on stage at the Pride In Print Awards evening, given its postponement, her team has a new initiative in mind to bring extra focus on those finalists.

“Watch this space!” she says.

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