In late 2003 Lason was named New Zealand's first equal Automotive Electrical Apprentice of the Year by MTA. His employer said that they had quite a few customers who would specifically ask for Jason due to his excellent knoweldge and was often mistaken for a qualified tradesperson due to his high work standard and ethics while still a Modern Apprentice.
It was focus and motivation that saw Michael gain top marks nationwide in his New Zealand Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO) National Certificate in Panel Beating examination. A year later he was also first equal in the MITO A-Grade Panel Beating examination. In 2003 he received the Collision Repair Association's Golden Hammer Award. The Golden Hammer is the highest award in the panel beating trade and it is believed it was the first time that the award came to Gisborne.
One of the regions most skilled apprentices after taking part in the joinery section of the 2002 Waikato Regional SkillEX competition and winning first place in joinery.
Ari-Wayne has been awarded a gold medal from the New Zealand Baking Society as Apprentice of the Year for the second year. Hundreds of bakeries entered their apprentices in the competition that Ari-Wayne won.
Modern Apprentice mechanic, Michael Tu, ( Te Aitangi a Mahaki) has come a long way from his days at Waikohu College when he didn't really know what he wanted to do. A one-week overview course at Gisborne Development Inc in 1999, which Michael really enjoyed, led to his decision to enrol in the Rangatahi Maia Skill Enhancement automotive engineering course at GDI in January 2000. This was followed by a Pathway to apprenticeships course in January 2001 at Gisborne Development Inc and he has not looked back since. Doing the courses locally knocked off about two years from his apprenticeship and the tutors pushed Michael along and kept him motivated.
An integral part of the course content at Gisborne Development Inc is on the job training. Michael carried out work experience at several local automotive workshops with the positive outcome of full-time employment at Watts Motors, Gisborne in August 2001 run by Brian Watts, Owner/Manager. Modern Apprenticeships Co-ordinator Chris Hatwell, (also C.E.O. of Gisborne Development Inc) saw the potential for Michael to do well and has watched him mature from his early days in 1999 as a cheeky teenager to a hardworking young adult with definite goals and a desire to succeed in 2002.
Michael has continued to study and complete his units of learning and in addition to the goal of completing his Modern Automotive Apprenticeship modules as soon as possible, he is also studying a Honda NZ apprenticeship through correspondence. He also wants to gain experience in other facets of the organisation at Watts Motors and works in the truck shop when required and runs the parts departments on weekends, so his job is quite varied. He finds his career as a mechanic challenging and enjoys both driving the expensive cars as well as working on them whilst learning a skill that's basically universal no matter what country you live in.
When asked if he would encourage other young people to follow the Rangatahi Maia path, Michael's advice was, "It's really something for people to make up their own minds about, but my suggestion is to 'Go for it! It's much better than sitting around all day doing nothing."
Brent was encouraged to compete for the Joinery Manufacturers Customwood Award for Year 1 apprentices. After much deliberation Brent decided to make a replica of the Auckland Sky Tower - which, whilst being a challenge was certainly eye catching. He was awarded first place for his efforts at the New Zealand Joinery Association Annual Conference.
Steven was 1998 New Zealand Top Apprentice of the Year when he gained his National Certificate as a Craftsperson Joiner. Steven is now self employed and living in Wellington restoring old houses.
Christina in 1998 topped New Zealand when she gained her National Certificate in Signmaking. Christine is one of the few women in this trade.