September 3rd, 2013

Forest & Wood Award Finalists - Wood Manufacturing

Modern Apprentice of the Year Nominations
Jamie Robertson – Production Manager, Waverley Sawmills
Understanding people better may not be a formal part of Jamie Robertson’s training but this particular skill has certainly been a positive aspect of his apprenticeship.  Jamie has had a few roles over the eight year period he has spent at the sawmill. 

As Production Manager, his current duties include overseeing the product that is coming through the kilns and keeping a watchful eye on the processing machines and the planer mill.  He’s had good support throughout his apprenticeship from his boss Peter, who helped Jamie out on a couple of units, as well as plenty of support from his partner and family.  While things are always pretty busy at the mill, Jamie is considering further study with up-skilling in the area management a distinct possibility.  

Josh Prendeigh – Timber Machinist – Southern Cross Forest Products
Letting management know he was keen to learn was the first step towards Josh Prendeigh undertaking an apprenticeship.  Having worked at Southern Cross Forest Products during school holidays, Josh was pretty clear what a career in wood manufacturing would entail. 

Almost seven years on from that work experience and Josh’s passion to develop his skills has not diminished.  Now a team leader responsible for 5-6 staff members who operate one of the company’s high-speed moulders, Josh is also training an apprentice of his own.  Actively employing everything he’s learned in the areas of communication, teamwork and leadership has seen Josh manage the balance between training others and maintaining his work area of production. 

That’s not to say his own learning is now on the back burner.  Josh has plans to undertake further study towards a Level 5 Advanced Trade qualification and to explore the possibility of completing some form of competitive manufacturing training.  His advice to others: ‘Take any opportunity to learn, to become skilled in your place of work.  Take pride in your work and give the best of your effort.’  

Glen King – Timber Machinist – Taranakipine
Nothing’s held Glen King back from achieving his goals.  This is a man with a serious passion for the planer and one who has set out to learn everything he could about machining.  When he was offered an apprenticeship, Glen jumped at the chance. 

Glen credits his training with giving him a greater understanding of his bosses, and with improving his communication with his staff.  Time management and keeping all records and other requirements up to standard are also areas where Glen has experienced real gains.  Working as a supervisor, running two planers and a team of six others on permanent night shift has presented Glen with plenty of challenges but perhaps none greater than overcoming his literacy issues. 

Developing his reading and writing abilities has been a priority for Glen and the effort he’s put into completing extra literacy training has really paid off.  And now with an apprentice of his own to train, Glen has no regrets.  ‘All the training I’ve been through since I’ve been working for Taranakipine, it’s got me a long way to be honest.’  

Trainee of the Year Nominations
Matthew Shaw – Carter Holt Harvey Pulp and Paper Kinleith
Matthew Shaw may well be the youngest recovery boiler operator in the Southern Hemisphere.  One thing is sure; this young man is motivated to succeed.  Gaining his Level 2 Energy and Chemical National Certificate last year and following it up with his Level 4 this year, Matthew has shown a real commitment to learning all there is to know about his role as Evaporator Operator.  Matthew runs a team managing one of the Kinleith mill’s three boilers. 

It’s a job he loves and one that holds significant responsibility.  Efficiency is key.  ‘We’re communicating back and forth with our area manager and the mill manager as to what the mill’s doing – how fast, how much steam we need.  I’m able to make decisions that are quite crucial and on time.  I have the confidence to do that now.’  

Sandy Russell – Quality Control Technician- Carter Holt Harvey
Gaining knowledge of the industry is one of the factors that motivated Sandy Russell to start training. Not only has her training given her technical skills across a range of areas in the business but it’s also delivered specific insight into the laminated veneer lumber process.  Sandy says her training has taught her how important it is to meet the needs of the business and the customer. 

It’s also reinforced safe working practices.  Another area where Sandy has up-skilled considerably is in communication.  ‘It’s taught me to be able to speak with clarity, understand questions, and to listen actively.  I’ve learnt that effective communication is vital for success.’  

Lisa Tregurtha – Kiwi Lumber Dannevirke
Until a few years ago, Lisa Tregurtha knew nothing about wood processing.  But Lisa didn’t let her printing background get in the way of learning everything she could about her new industry.  In the past four years, Lisa has gained six National Certificates and earned the respect of her co-workers in the process. 

As the Kiwi Lumber Office Administrator, Lisa handles many administrative tasks for the company but organising training is where her passion lies.  Committed to continuous improvement, Lisa also holds responsibility for all the training for forklifts, first aid renewals, apprenticeships for solid wood and engineering. 

Attitude sets Lisa apart.  One of her guiding principles is ‘leading by example’.  As she sees it, completing training herself has given her a clear mandate to encourage others into training.  As a result, even some of the older operators have completed further training.  

Hemana Kingi Te Aranui Waaka – Reman Operator- Carter Holt Harvey Wood Products Kawerau
It’s been nine years since Hemana first entered the sawmill in Kawerau.  With enthusiasm and determination to ‘prove himself’, Hemana has become an important member of the team.  Training has enabled Hemana to get a deeper understanding of operations and to teach others about the various processes they are engaged in. 

For this reason, Hemana has become an important link between operators and management.  Having the confidence to trial new approaches based on what he’s learnt in his training, Hemana had added significant value.  Management were impressed with the improvement ideas Hemana brought to the kilns and assigned him to a Quality Supervisor’s role soon after completing his apprenticeship.  

Training Company of the Year Nominations
Northpine Limited – Whangarei
Northpine is a company committed to developing its people.  The company believes that its success and its high levels of customer satisfaction are a direct result of the skill and effort of its employees – 90% of whom are in training.  The company also has four staff engaged in apprenticeships. 

Despite experiencing challenging economic times, Northpine has maintained its training programmes delivered by a dedicated Training Coordinator who supports staff through a range of programs.  Even during recessionary times, Northpine has achieved some outstanding productivity gains by ensuring staff understand and apply the principles of competitive manufacturing.  

Carter Holt Harvey – Woodproducts – Whangarei
Carter Holt Harvey has increased training in recent years.  For Andrew Shirley, the Quality and Optimisation Manager, a big part of encouraging staff to take up training is showing them a clear career path and the benefits to the pay packet of up-skilling.  He’s seeing a real increase in quality overall and communication in general. 

But perhaps one of the most satisfying aspects is seeing a positive change in attitude once staff realise they can achieve their learning goals.  ‘You can see the pride, the feedback you get from them, they’re just so engaged, it’s neat.  There are a lot of converts around.’  

Juken New Zealand – Masterton
There’s a lot happening at Juken New Zealand.  Along with a number of trade apprenticeships, the company has 37 people training towards timber-related national certificates, 31 training towards competitive manufacturing and 38 moving towards completing a Level 2 programme.  It’s a huge increase from previous years and a source of great pride for the company and employees alike.

Wayne Carmichael, the General Affairs Manager sums it up, ‘One of our core values as a company is continuous learning.  We focus on ensuring we have at any one time 5% of our staff trained to train others.  In doing that training they can actually increase their academic ability, their value to the organisation, their own value to the community.’