17 May, 2022
  •  PrintNZ and industry training partner Competenz/Te Pūkenga are thrilled to introduce you to our five Apprentice of the Year sector winners.

These people represent the best in their respective sectors and will go on to contend for the overall Print Apprentice of the Year title. Ruth Cobb, Chief Executive of PrintNZ said "our industry requires skilled workers to produce excellent products and today that's what we are here for  - to celebrate those people who have made a commitment to our industry by undertaking a training programme, and the employers that have recognised their talent and provided them with the opportunity to do so."

"The Apprentice of the Year coverted award especially recognises those who have excelled in their studies which they completed within the last 12 months, and displayed a great passion and enthusiasm for their work and our industry." The winner will be announced at the Pride In Print Awards on June 17.

By Bruce Craig - New Zealand Printer Magazine

  • PrintNZ Screen Print Apprentice of the Year – Liam Blom, ACI Screen & Print (Auckland)

    Heidelberg Offset Apprentice of the Year – Kosema Fuiono, Blue Star Collard (Auckland)

    BJ Ball Packaging Apprentice of the Year – Frey Head, Oji Fibre Solutions Paper Bag (Auckland)

    Trust4Skills Reelfed Apprentice of the Year – John Reddy, Philstic Labels (Auckland)

    GAPF Digital Apprentice of the Year – Nana Southall, Blue Star Constellation (Auckland)

    Liam Blom, the PrintNZ Screen Print Apprentice of the Year, says, “I feel as if I have put a lot of time and effort into learning and producing quality work, both in my apprenticeship and printing. For that to be recognised is all I could ever ask to be honest.

    “Making the Top Five further instils the encouragement and motivation being given to me by both my employers and Competenz training advisor Grant Alsop. I will continue to strive for growth and success, not only within the print industry but in my life as a whole.”

    Heidelberg Offset Apprentice of the Year Kosema Fuiono, calls it an amazing achievement. He says, “It means a lot to be named in the Top Five, not only for myself but also for my family and Bluestar Collard, where it all started. I wasn’t expecting to be even named in the Top 10. When I was told about it, I was really appreciative and humbled.

    “I was definitely surprised to then be named the Offset Apprentice of the Year. It’s been a blessing.”

    Frey Head, the BJ Ball Packaging Apprentice of the Year is “incredibly grateful” for everyone who supported his development. In particular, he names the print team at Oji Fibre Solutions and Competenz’s Grant Alsop.

    He says, “Being named Packaging Apprentice of the Year is unbelievable. I still can’t believe I’m mentioned in an article. Being named in the Top 10 was an impressive enough achievement.

    “And I have really enjoyed the journey and thank you to everyone who made this possible.”

    Trust4Skills Reelfed Apprentice of the Year John Reddy, says, “I feel truly honoured because it just shows that all the hard work that I put in has been recognised.

    “I also want to use it as a chance to show my family and change the stigma of not going to university and getting a degree. This is not the only option for after school. Growing up with an Indian father, believe me, there was no other option.

    “But after completing my apprenticeship and purchasing my first home, it has opened my eyes and the eyes of my extended family to see that getting an apprenticeship is actually an option.”

    Nana Southall, the GAPF Digital Apprentice of the Year, says, “Being named the Digital Apprentice of the Year makes me feel like I can achieve anything I put my mind to.

    “I want to show people that I am a force to be reckoned with. I also hope it will encourage more females to join the print industry as it’s definitely not limited to men. If I can do it, so can you.

    “I put my all into the apprenticeship. Having my parents there when this was announced was something that I was excited about. In addition, to see their response and how they were so proud of me made me feel it was all so worth it.”

    PrintNZ will present the BJ Ball Papers Apprentice of the Year winner on stage at the Pride In Print Awards. The gala dinner takes place on June 17 at Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.


Special thank you to BJ Ball Papers, Heidelberg, Trust4Skills, Print Finishers Association and Competenz/Te Pūkenga.  They have continued to support the Apprentice of the Year Awards through this time meaning we can continue on the pathway to naming our overall winners.

Congratulations to all the graduates of 2021 and good luck to the Top 5 Apprentice of the Year candidates.

About PrintNZ
PrintNZ is the association for the print, packaging, and visual communications industries. Members have access to industry-relevant employment, legal and health and safety resources along with regular news updates from the industry and guidance through the uncertainty of COVID-19. For more information, photos and interview opportunities please contact:
+64 9 265 2090

AND The WINNER as announced at the Pride In Print Awards Dinner 17 June 2022 in Christchurch.