FITEC names forest & wood industry stars at 2010 National Awards

Friday 10 September 2010, 7:39AM

Future stars and outstanding achievers in the forest and wood industry were announced this evening at the National Training Awards run by FITEC, the forest and wood industry training organisation.

Ten outstanding individuals and companies from wood harvesting and processing to furniture making were recognised and received awards at a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre (September 9).

The annual awards recognise the rising stars of the industry, celebrating the commitment that individuals have towards their careers and of companies in raising skill levels in the multi-billion-dollar industry. The winners were chosen from 29 finalists within the broader forest and wood manufacturing sector, which consists of some 20,000 employees in total.

“Winning is a real achievement,” says FITEC Chief Executive, Ian Boyd. “These are the individuals and companies from all corners of the country who show passion and commitment to the industry. The wood industry is big business, contributing to annual earnings throughout the industry sector of around $3.7 billion, and training is a crucial part of our future success.”

This year’s winners include a wood manufacturing company from Tokoroa which isn’t only seeing improvements in output but also in staff self esteem, literacy and communications skills as a result of training, a large manufacturing plant in Kawerau where every member of its 328 staff is involved in training, and a young man from New Plymouth who won the Modern Apprentice of the Year.

“The top ten are the best of the best,” he says. “They are role models for others who want to achieve to the same level that they have achieved. They truly show the amazing achievements of people involved in this nationally important industry.”

The winners were:

Modern Apprentice of the Year (Forestry) – Wesley Newton, GJ Sole Transport Ltd - winner $1000
Modern Apprentice of the Year (Wood Manufacturing) – Bradley Webster, Kiwi Lumber Limited, winner $1000
Trainee of the Year (Forestry) – David Joll, Blackstump Harvesting Ltd, winner $1000
Trainee of the Year (Wood Manufacturing) – Wayne Ngarangione, Juken New Zealand Ltd, winner $1000
Trainee of the Year (Furniture) (furniture piece entry) – Eden Simpson, Natural Timber Creations, winner $1000
Training Company of the Year (Forestry) – Makerikeri Silviculture, $1000 in FITEC training
Training Company of the Year (Wood Manufacturing) – Pedersen Holdings Limited - Roundwood, $1000 in FITEC training
Training Company of the Year (Furniture) – Jones & Sandford Joinery Ltd, $1000 in FITEC training
Outstanding Business Performance through People Development – Norske Skog Tasman, $1000 in FITEC training
FITEC Training Leader of the Year – Trevor Wilson, Pedersen Holdings Limited - Roundwood, $1000 travel voucher.

Mr Boyd says the forestry and wood manufacturing sector is New Zealand’s third largest primary industry export earner and therefore education and training within the sector is essential. It has been shown to lead directly to productivity improvements and other advantages.

“FITEC believes that investing in training is one of the most important strategies an individual or company can have and these awards are the one opportunity to celebrate the results of that investment.”