Thirty-one individuals and companies are in line for prizes of up to $1000 having been named as finalists in the National Training Awards run by FITEC, the wood industry training organisation.
The awards showcase the achievements of the companies and individuals in raising skill levels in the multi-billion-dollar industry.
Finalists range from a logging crew foreman from Hawkes Bay who told judges that becoming more skilled meant he could earn enough money to shift his family from the unhygienic house he blamed for sending his infant son to hospital, to a Taupo wood manufacturer that says ensuring all staff are involved in training is a key to surviving the recession.
They also come from all over New Zealand, from as far south as Riverton in Southland, north to Awanui in Northland, from New Plymouth in the west to Gisborne in the east.
Winners of the FITEC National Training Awards will be announced at a gala dinner and awards ceremony, to be held at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre on September 10.
Awards are given in nine categories. The categories and their prizes are:
• Modern Apprentice of the Year (Forestry) – finalists $250, winner $1000
• Modern Apprentice of the Year (Wood Manufacturing) – finalists $250, winner $1000
• Trainee of the Year (Forestry) – finalists $250, winner $1000
• Trainee of the Year (Wood Manufacturing) – finalists $250, winner $1000
• Trainee of the Year (Furniture) – winner $1000
• Training Company of the Year (Forestry) – $1000 in FITEC training
• Training Company of the Year (Wood Manufacturing) – $1000 in FITEC training
• Outstanding Business Performance through People Development – $1000 in FITEC training
• FITEC Training Leader of the Year – $1000 travel voucher.
FITEC Chief Executive Ian Boyd said the awards played a crucial role in recognising individual and company achievements in the wood industry which already plays an important part in the New Zealand economy, but is poised to become much more significant given its carbon absorption role for the environment.
“Every year, we see amazing stories of personal and team achievement, in an industry where training and safety are absolutely crucial,” he said. “And the awards help to highlight how companies that really commit to training their staff reap the economic rewards for years to come.
“This year is no different and the stories behind many of the finalists – both individuals and companies – are nothing short of inspirational.
“Forest products earn New Zealand more than $3 billion a year in export earnings and in 2007 employed more than 20,000 people. This is a nationally vital industry, and these awards are a vital component in ensuring the industry continues to go from strength to strength.”