Waikato apprentices bring home medals

Tuesday 7 August 2012, 2:19PM
By Wintec


Waikato tradespeople proved they’re at the top of their game at the WorldSkills New Zealand National Finals held in Christchurch last month.

The two-day competition saw young apprentices from across the country battle it out in 15 different skill categories such as automotive, carpentry, joinery and plumbing, to show off their trade knowledge and expertise.

The Wintec-sponsored Waikato regional team gained the highest aggregate score at the event and individual team members brought home seven medals. Four of the Waikato winners are Wintec graduates – Leo Voorend, Reece David, Leon Balvert and Reece Gerrits.

David McDougall, Wintec’s Head of School of Trades, said: “It’s a great result for the Waikato team and shows that our region is producing graduates and apprentices with top-notch trades skills. We’re really proud to support an event like this that highlights and celebrates success and excellence in trades.”

In a further coup for the Waikato, Wintec will host the 2014 WorldSkills New Zealand National Finals at its Rotokauri campus in north Hamilton.

The WorldSkills competition focus is on-the-job excellence by putting competitors through a demanding set of tasks relevant to their trade. 

Leo Voorend, a first year apprentice at Stainless Design in Hamilton, won bronze in the Sheet Metal Technology category at the WorldSkills New Zealand National Finals.

His manager at Stainless Design, and Waikato WorldSkills team leader Scott Pritchard, said “We’re thrilled for Leo and the Waikato team. The WorldSkills event plays an important role in showcasing and developing excellence in industry. Taking part in competitions like this enhance our apprentice’s confidence and skills and in turn strengthens our business. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

As well as sponsoring the Waikato team, four Wintec staff members are on the WorldSkills Waikato committee – David McDougall, Roland Spirig, Craig Cameron and Gary McCormick. Roland Spirig is also a judge in the international WorldSkills competition.

Waikato region medal winners
Reece Gerrits                    Sheet Metal Technology               Gold
Andrew Heath                  Bricklaying                                           Gold
Mark Strange                     Fitting & Machining                         Gold
David Fox                            Autobody Repair                              Silver
Leon Balvert                       Automotive Technology               Bronze
Reece David                       Automotive Refinishing                Bronze
Leo Voorend                      Sheet Metal Technology               Bronze