Solo Plastics wins 2021 Skills Highway Supreme Champion Award

24 Nov 2021

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is delighted to announce the winners of the 2021 Skills Highway Champion Awards.

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

The calibre of this year’s entries was high and it was inspiring to see so many examples of positive change in the winning entries. 

Skills Highway Supreme Award

Awarded to Solo Plastics

Throughout changes in alert levels and lockdowns, Solo’s vision for creating a learning culture has never faltered (flipping to learning online and supporting staff to do so). They are committed to the growth of their staff post-programme, always looking for further learning opportunities.  

Skills Highway Champion Learner Award

Awarded to Duane Noy, Ghella Abergeldie Joint Venture (GAJV)

Duane was nominated by learning provider Education Unlimited. “We first met Duane on site at a Dig Deep programme introduction. Duane was extremely stressed about completing initial assessments, sharing his lifelong struggle with reading and writing.” Support from his employer and Workbridge empowered Duane to pursue his health and safety passion. Duane’s tutor says, “The difference in Duane is huge, as his confidence grew so did his abilities.” Duane has gone on to achieve a micro-credential and has also worked towards Dogman units, a critical role on sites that is in short supply.

Highly commended: Pauline Merriman, KLC Ltd

Skills Highway Champion Learner Group Award

Awarded to New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Team Leadership) Level 3, NZ Comfort Group – Christchurch site

The learning provider Education Unlimited nominated the New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Team Leadership) Level 3 learner group based at the Christchurch site. “This ethnically and age diverse group began training with little leadership experience. With no previous formal leadership training, they were considered ‘borderline’ in terms of their capabilities.

They have overcome numerous personal hurdles, building skills and confidence. This group stands out because they collectively displayed exceptional levels of teamwork, bonding and care for each other. For example, they took turns to cook a cultural treat to share in the weekly session. Younger participants helped the more mature group members develop their understanding of programme content. They supported them to grasp new concepts of leadership, to not give up, and to develop their digital capabilities. Some participants work alone and were unable to apply what they were learning, or receive feedback or encouragement. So as a team they supported each other, sharing ideas, and encouraging one another.” 

Highly commended:

  • Branch Out Ohaupō, T & G Fresh
  • NZ Comfort Group, New Zealand Certificate in Business (Introduction to Team Leadership) Level 3 – Avondale site

Skills Highway Champion Trainer Award

Awarded to Melissa Hori, Upskills

Melanie was nominated by learning provider Upskills.  "When Auckland recently went into Level 4 and her learners couldn’t attend their course, they reached out to Mel for some extra learning they could use with their kids - she quickly whipped up some worksheets with contextualized numeracy problems for them to learn alongside their children. This is just one example of how Mel goes above and beyond to create learner success, and learner agency.    

She is always up for helping out – whether is quickly switching her groups into Zoom learning, running Facebook live events, or stepping in to cover a colleague.  She brings the same high energy and commitment to quality, dynamic learning to every context – she really does embrace the learning model for our sector:  knowing the demands, knowing the learner, and knowing what to do. She takes every opportunity to lift up others, and amplify their success.”

Highly commended:

  • Desiree Gelbart, Skills 4 Work
  • Filipo Levi, The Learning Wave

Skills Highway Champion Employer Award

Awarded to Solo Pastics

Solo Plastics was nominated by learning provider Upskills. "Solo's Flying High programme has truly lived up to its name, with participants flying high through the learning pathways Solo has created: eight of the 20 on the original digital programme continued on to complete their Level 2 qualifications, and eight staff are stepping up to start a Level 3 Certificate in Manufacturing. For others at this innovative Avondale plastics factory (where the values are people and planet first) there have been other opportunities to learn through Future Ready Money Confidence, an initiative building financial literacy for Auckland’s Pacific workforce. Others have embraced the leadership journey, with three managers completing their Level 3 Cert in Business (Team Leadership) on our Pop Up Leadership programme.

As Solo's Factory Manager puts it: “Seeing staff morale boosted and the team grow in confidence and spirit had been the greatest reward.”  

Highly commended: Buckley Systems Limited

Skills Highway Innovation Award

Awarded to Veolia, The Learning Way

Veolia, an integrated environment solutions provider was nominated by learning provider, The Learning Wave. "The five day face-to-face skills-based learning programme 'Veolia Technology Excellence in Communication (V-TEC)' was developed for frontline staff. The focus of the programme was to support learners to develop skills, behaviours, and confidence to effectively communicate through digital means to meet business outcomes – to improve people’s ability to write job notes with the required level of context and completeness. With learners spread across New Zealand and COVID-19 severely limiting travel, an alternative delivery solution was found utilising the latest technologies and thinking around engaging these learners digitally.

"The programme utilised an embedded workplace literacy approach to achieve the desired lift. This enabled 31 learners to successfully engage with the programme, which was positively received, changing skillsets, mindsets and attitudes around using technology at work and increasing workplace literacy and numeracy skills.”

Highly commended: 

  • Alison Twaddle, Aspire2 Business | Workplace Communications
  • Kia Maia Rotorua, Higgins