CALLED the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, NSW’s finest sheetmetal apprentices were on show at the Sheetmetal Industry Association (SIA) annual awards night held in Sydney last month.
Colin Johnsen, former President of the SIA, said the awards a tremendous way of showcasing excellence in the sheetmetal industry, plus he said they are an opportunity for educators and students to see that a trade is not just a job, but a career.
“The metal trade suffers with the old image that it’s a dirty, manual business, with parents often reluctant to allow their children to get involved, but the fact is that it has changed dramatically,” Johnsen explained.
“It is a constantly evolving industry with highly skilled operators now using valuable computerised equipment and machines but the apprentices also play an important role in the future of manufacturing in Australia.
“They are the up and coming business owners and managing directors of the future,” Johnsen told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
Students, proud parents, teachers and industry members watched on as six of the State’s best apprentices received recognition for their skills and entrepreneurial aptitude reflected in their studies and work.
Mark Sebing from Craft Metals (North Sydney/Ultimo TAFE) was awarded first prize, with highly commended going to Giuseppe Antonelli from Hastings Sheetmetal (Cullora TAFE), and an encouragement award for Ryan Murray from Marcus Engineering (North Sydney/Ultimo TAFE).Nathan Huckett from Newcastle Stainless (Newcastle TAFE) won the Mature Age Apprentice Award.
Apprentice of the year Mark said he was astounded to win the award but said the apprenticeship had been a ‘good journey’ for him, saying he appreciated all the support he received from his friends, parents and teachers.
Mark’s boss Martin Kunz, said even though Mark had been only working at the company for the past 12 months, it was his willingness to learn and develop skills both in and outside the workplace that made Mark shine above the rest.
“He has pride is his work and wants to absorb as much as he can about every aspect of the business, and this is what motivated me to nominate Mark for the award,” Kunz told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
Also announced on the night were the winners of the 2006 Sculpture Award for High School Students, with Jeffrey Chandler from Knox Grammar School taking home first prize in the senior category and joint-winners in the junior category were Angela Davis from Hills Grammar School and Ashleigh Thorpe from Mulwaree High School.
The awards are a joint SIA and TAFE initiative designed to recognise the achievements of students and highlight career pathways into the sheetmetals sectors in the aim of addressing the skills shortage problem.
Proceeds raised from activities held on the night, including a silent auction, were donated to Northcott Disability Services, an organisation providing support and services to young people with disabilities and their families.
For more information about the SIA awards, contact Walter Suber on 0418 322 700 or Colin Johnsen 02 9526 4488.