Announcing the winners of the Skills Highway Champion Awards 2020

13 Nov 2020

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is delighted to announce the winners of the Skills Highway Champion Awards for 2020.

The awards recognise best practice, commitment and growth for the learners, learning providers and employers who take part in the programmes funded by the TEC's Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Fund.

We had a record number of entries this year and the calibre of nominations was very high.

Champion Learner
Awarded jointly to Cameron Bloomfield (Westco Lumber) and Duane Nuku (T&G Global).

Cameron was nominated by learning provider Conquest Training. "In the early sessions of the learning Cameron proved himself to be very self-aware of his strengths and challenges. Post training Cameron has stepped up into a more senior role at the sawmill and his renewed confidence has meant that he has asked for and is receiving training that will continue to build his career and his pathway within Westco and beyond."

Duane was nominated by his employer T&G Global. "I don’t sit in the corner now - I mingle with other people," says Duane. "That was because there were times when I didn’t understand what they were talking about.  So I’m really grateful to the programme. I reckon it’s awesome.”

Highly commended:

Ernest Gotz, Ghella and Abergeldie JV

Jasmeen Begum, Counties Manukau Health

Mohammed Ahmed, Foodstuffs North Island

Pooja Maine, Huhtamaki

Champion Learner Group
Awarded jointly to the 'Step Up' and '4 Stars' learner groups (Van den Brink Poultry).

Step Up were nominated by learning provider Upskills for their "teamwork in developing a knife-sharpening initative. This included preparing an online presentation for key managers in the business, creating an uplifting and informative video on how to sharpen knives, and becoming the 'expert users' of the new knife sharpening tool."

4 Stars were nominated by their employer Van den Brink Poultry for "learning how to write persuasive emails (having never written emails before), co-ordinating meetings with the site manager, engineers, H&S and HR, and being able to express their ideas (having been too shy to talk to management before the course)." 

Highly commended:

Branch Out, T&G Global

Griffin's Wiri Be Brave 2020, The Griffin's Food Company

Champion Trainer
Awarded to Claire Whitaker (Education Unlimited).

Claire was nominated by The Labour Exchange. "Upon the announcement of each lockdown, Claire volunteered without hesitation to organise extra learning materials for her students to take home, to engage in zoom meetings for a chat to check in with each student, and even offered to try source a spare router from her own home to personally drop to their letterboxes! To selflessly offer her hand in a time of uncertainty even for herself could not be a truer testament of her extraordinary character as a Trainer and as a person."

Highly commended:

Felicity Cuff, Conquest Training

Jo Rendall, Hagley Adult Literacy Centre

Seema Singh, Upskills

Tony Burnham, Edvance

Champion Employer
Awarded to Counties Power.

Counties Power were nominated by learning provider Edvance, who said "When COVID-19 forced New Zealand into lockdown the learners, with support from Counties Power, continued online from home, quickly learning to navigate their way around the G-Suite for Education. When face to face training resumed Counties Power provided a conducive learning environment and also a light meal for every training session.  For the graduation, Counties Power were determined to find a time that not only the trainees and management were available, but also the trainees’ families." 

Highly commended:

James Dunlop Textiles

Metro Performance Glass

Innovation Award
Awarded to Garcia Contracting.

Garcia Contracting were nominated by learning provider Edvance, who said "When the COVID-19 lockdown closed workplaces and made face to face training impossible, Garcia Contracting were quick to adapt their training plan to enable learning to continue in an unpredictable situation. In partnership with Edvance a blended model of delivery was developed, a first for both organisations, allowing an agile approach to the fluctuating delivery environment."

Highly commended:

Desiree Gelbart, Skills4Work Limited

Supreme Champion
Awarded to Van den Brink Poultry

Van den Brink Poultry were awarded the Supreme Champion Award for 2020 as a result of their strong submissions in the Learner, Learner Group, Employer and Innovation categories.