The 2018 recipient of the Ernie Jelinek Cup was Tiarn Ririnui of Clearline, Mt Maunganui.
The judges said, “Nominees for apprentice of the year were exemplary making it tough to separate them. Tiarn’s strong points were his competence, problem-solving skills, leadership, awareness and understanding of his team’s strengths and weaknesses.
One outstanding acknowledgement for any business is when its customers take time to comment or write, applauding service and quality - this often happens in Tiarn’s case. He appears to understand good business practice well beyond his time in the trade and this is reflected in his recent appointment as Production Manager.
No stranger to winning, in 2017 Tiarn won Registered Master Joiners Best Timber Project 0-4,000 hours and was also highest judged for workmanship and skill which was open to all apprentices up to 8,000 hours. This was a major achievement for Tiarn who was still an apprentice in the under 4,000 hours division as well.
Tiarn told us, “In the beginning, I had to show my mentors my interest in joinery was genuine, that I was 100% open to learning, willing to put in the time and had honest respect for the craft. Soon sound advice followed, and doors opened. I chose to follow a well-worn path and undertook an apprenticeship, put my hand up for anything new at work, watched, asked and listened to my boss who just so happens to be my Dad who just so happens to be a qualified carpenter joiner.”
We asked Tiarn if he could tell his future managerial self one thing, what would it be? He says, “To give regular verbal encouragement to all workers alike as it means a lot. Also, make sure a workplace mentor is always available to share their knowledge with others”.
We also asked Tiarn if he could turn back time to when he started in joinery, what one tip would he have for himself? He replied, “Always take pride in your work and never be afraid to ask questions.”
Tiarn says, “My dream is to become a successful, well-balanced business owner who is kind, remains grounded, and is always respectful of the natural resource we craft with and the place from which it comes – ngahere.
“But right now my focus is on developing my management skills, ensuring Clearline meets customer briefs, our business networks are solid, production and systems are efficient, and my team are confident and happy. Timber joinery is in my blood!”
Many thanks to Baz and Claire of Clearline, other nominees, employers and BCITO Training Advisors who support applicants. Next year’s awards will roll around quickly so now is the time to start getting your apprentice ‘award ready’. One tip to help you out is to tell your apprentices to collect photos of their work on an ongoing basis - a picture paints a thousand words.
Unga Funoa’s interest in carpentry began as a young boy in Tonga.
If you’re looking for a straight answer to a serious question that helps the bottom line, such as who would you employ? you’ll get one if you ask Brad Sandri at Ranger Specialist Coatings.