October 14th, 2013

Well done to our Forest and Wood award winners

Trainee of the Year, Furniture Trainee of the Year, Wood Manufacturing Trainee of the Year, Forestry Modern Apprentice of the Year, Forestry Modern Apprentice of the Year, Wood Manufacturing Modern Apprentice of the Year, Furniture Training Company of the Year, Forestry Training Company of the Year, Wood Manufacturing Training Company of the Year, Furniture Health & Safety Initiative Outstanding Business Performance through People Development Competenz Training Leader of the Year  

Trainee of the Year, Furniture sponsored by Milwaukee

Alex Rau – Molloy Custom Furniture
Alex Rau must be a very sociable man.  Certainly, the portable bar that Alex has spent many hours of overtime completing this year would make him very popular amongst friends.  That’s not to say a drinking culture was the inspiration for Alex’s creation.  He says his rolling drinks cabinet came about through necessity and solve the issue of his mother entertaining in a reasonably small space.  It’s handcrafted furniture at its best.  Working for Molloy’s, an Auckland-based company specialising in custom furniture, has given Alex a taste for high quality one-off pieces.  If the commitment he’s shown in completing such an ambitious project is anything to go by, this is unlikely to be his last. 

Trainee of the Year, Wood Manufacturing sponsored by Juken NZ Ltd

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.’ 

Trainee of the Year, Forestry sponsored by STIHL

Nukumai Jensen – Tree Faller - Raywood Contracting
Nukumai Jensen considers himself to be a Jack of all trades.  For that reason he’s always been keen on learning new skills, and after 23 years working in forestry, he’s completed his fair share of training.  As training methods have changed over the years, Nukumai has had to adapt.  ‘When I first started, training was more hands-on and oral so at the time my writing was terrible.  Now with so much emphasis on paperwork, my writing has improved out of sight.  In fact so much so I’ve been given the privilege of becoming the health and safety champion for our crew and I’m basically doing all the paperwork for the meetings.’  His crew has been incident and accident free for two years.  Nukumai has set a few goals for himself, one of which is to enter Logger of the Year.  But for now, he’s just focused on getting his next round of training completed. 

Modern Apprentice of the Year, Forestry sponsored by STIHL

Lawrence Rehutai – Crew Manager – UBQ Ltd
Growing up in a bush town as he did, it’s not surprising that Lawrence Rehutai ended up in forestry.  As a Crew Manager, Lawrence takes responsibility for daily management, health and safety, and day-to-day planning.  While gaining a qualification has been important for him in itself, Lawrence also values what he has learnt about effective communication within the team.  While the training sometimes involved forgoing income or losing precious weekend time to attend courses, Lawrence says it was all worth it to ensure a better future.  He’s now aiming for a future goal of becoming a forest supervisor.  ‘That’s the ultimate goal.’ 

Modern Apprentice of the Year, Wood Manufacturing sponsored by Competenz

Josh Pendreigh – 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.’ 

Modern Apprentice of the Year, Furniture sponsored by Mirotone

Jacob Walker – Workshop Manager – Innature Limited
Jacob Walker is a busy man. As sole charge of Innature’s production, Jacob has a handle on everything – from creating new bedroom furniture designs to ordering stock to producing the finished product and making it ready to ship. Jacob’s focus on organising the workshop so that it is working as efficiently as possible has resulted in real productivity gains for the company.  While he’s always loved woodworking, Jacob says his apprenticeship has taught him everything he needs to know to become successful.  Several years ago Jacob tried his hand at boat building but quickly figured out it wasn’t for him.  ‘I like to see immediate results.  In boat building it took too long to get things finished, whereas furniture – a few days and it’s done.’ 

Training Company of the Year, Forestry sponsored by Rayonier Matariki

Volcanic Plateau Logging – Julie and Steven Yeoman
Volcanic Plateau Logging has a very low staff turnover and it’s easy to see why.  All 26 employees, including the company’s directors are in training.  Annual training plans are important to Julie Yeoman who, with her husband Steven and brother-in-law Vincent, runs the Taupo-based logging operation.  It’s helped that there’s support at the top.  With both Steven and Vincent working in the crew and in training themselves, employees see training as an integral part of the job.  ‘There are guys at Level 1 through to completing their National Certificate.  Our foreman is just about running out of National Certificates to complete.’  And the company is reaping the benefits with a top health and safety record and, in the last 12 months, achieving top results within the Timberlands environment. 

Training Company of the Year, Wood Manufacturing sponsored by Skellerup

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.’ 

Training Company of the Year, Furniture sponsored by Competenz

Sealy New Zealand
Training is important to Sealy New Zealand for a number of reasons.  Not only does it contribute towards an employee’s personal development, but it ensures employees develop skills in line with business needs which is essential to achieving KPIs.  Training is also seen by the company as part and parcel of sound succession planning and a way of ensuring business continuity.  As one of New Zealand’s foremost furniture manufacturers, Sealy has a commitment to grow skills within their business with all factory staff having completed a Level 2 National Certificate and the company’s management undertaking Level 4.  The benefits are enjoyed not only by the business but by the individuals themselves.  Says Rob Hanks, Sealy’s Factory Manager, ‘They get better job satisfaction.  The average amount of time people have been here is 10 years.  Some of them have been here for up to 40 years.’ 

Health & Safety Initiative sponsored by ACC

Kelvin Diack – Director, Raywood Logging Ltd
When a runaway log hit a mate square in the chest, knocking him clean off a bluff and into the Marlborough Sounds, Kelvin Diack knew he needed to make a decision.  Either he was going to chuck it all in and leave forestry, or he was going to make sure nothing like that ever happened again.  Luckily for his crew, Kelvin chose the latter option.  Kelvin has always believed on-the-job communication could be improved.  Faced with a crew working in a challenging terrain with limited visibility of each other and very few ways of communicating over the sound of chainsaws, Kelvin had a number of challenges to consider.  Two years of trialling and fabrication has resulted in a novel solution where every man carries a radio with a special attachment that plugs into earmuffs on the safety helmet.  Whether they’re using a chainsaw or driving a bulldozer, everyone can hear at all times.  Kelvin believes strongly that his crew’s communications solution will reduce the likelihood of serious accidents but beyond that, there have been other benefits that relate to the crew’s general sense of wellbeing.  The two channel system allows for members of the crew to talk to each other on a second channel while still keeping track of what’s happening on the main logging channel.  And it’s not just idle chatter.  All that talk on Channel Two has resulted in further improvements to workplace safety, with Kelvin’s crew coming up with a system of green and red lights atop the hauler to communicate risk to the team as a whole.  It’s communication at its finest. 

Outstanding Business Performance through People Development sponsored by Juken NZ Ltd

Northpine – Bruce Larsen
Around 90-95% of Northpine’s employees are involved in some form of training.  In fact it’s a requirement for all new employees to sign up on Day One to a training schedule.  ‘Whether they like it or not,’ says General Manager Bruce Larsen, ‘and most of them do like it!’   Bruce believes promoting high standards in training and adhering to competitive manufacturing processes has kept Northpine in business.  Harder economic conditions mean it is vital employees understand how to improve their processes and cut waste.  Last year productivity improvements at the sawmill reached 24%.  This year a further 19% improvement was achieved.  Of Northpine’s commitment to training Bruce Larsen says, ‘It’s been a real success story for us.’ 

Competenz Training Leader of the Year sponsored by STIHL

Adrian Grieg – Juken New Zealand
Adrian Grieg jokes that his department deals with basically everything nobody else wants.  It’s certainly a full brief promoting industry training, providing in-house training, identifying literacy and numeracy issues within the workforce and encouraging pro-active maintenance of machinery.  The ESOL programmes Adrian promotes have been particularly beneficial to members of staff who struggle with English or have literacy issues.  ‘We do believe that as a result of training we are seeing increases in productivity and quality.  They understand the purpose behind it.  It’s just really helping them work smarter.’  And the fact that Adrian came from the factory floor himself helps enormously.  ‘A lot of guys out there feel they can do training too and get something out of it.’