This Friday apprentices across the region are going head-to-head in the inaugural Nelson Apprentice of the Year competition.

The apprentices are representing hairdressing, engineering, and nursing.

Contestants will complete a variety of challenges created by the organisers with the winner taking the title of Nelson Apprentice of the Year and $1000 in prize money.

“The competition is a good opportunity to represent the nursing department and spread awareness of what nursing is about,” says nursing apprentice, Sam Clegg.

He says nursing is a widely overlooked career especially with males with just four out of 93 nursing apprentices in Nelson Tasman.

The businesses they work for will also win a $3000 NZME advertising package and the winner’s chosen charity will also benefit through a $500 donation.

Since July 2020 over 100,000 students nationwide have begun Targeted Training Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) programmes. NMIT has had over 1100 TTAF learners with more intakes coming.

The event puts the spotlight on the benefits of apprenticeship training through NMIT.

NMIT have developed a number of programmes alongside regional industries identified as trades or sectors with skill shortages.

“There are skills shortages in a number of sectors across the country and we are hearing from employers who are very keen to take on apprentices,” says NMIT executive director, Grant Kerr.

He says there’s a strong uptake in programmes from aquaculture, construction, horticulture, engineering, winemaking, and viticulture, automotive and IT.

Hinerangi October is another local Tasman apprentice in the competition. She’s dedicated to having her own salon eventually and spent lockdown practising her hairdressing skills on her horse Dixie.

“I think it’s safe to say that Dixie certainly enjoyed the food I bribed her with to let me put perm rollers in her mane,” she says.

Hinerangi had been working at a local food retailer for a couple of years and seeing it wouldn’t provide her with a career path, signed up at NMIT for a hairdressing apprenticeship. She was nominated for the Award by a friend and her teachers.

The Nelson Apprentice of the Year competition is on Friday 26th March, 4 pm to 6 pm, at the NMIT Nelson campus.

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