The National Kitchen and Bathroom Association Conference is an illustrious event punctuated by an awards evening to celebrate the industry's best. One BCITO learner receives the Judy Bark cup for the “Most Promising Kitchen Design Student Award”. The most promising student is selected from people enrolled in Kitchen Design with BCITO who have shown exceptional promise and skill during their first off-job training course and completing their first assignment. This year’s recipient, Sushil Patel, spoke to us about his journey to becoming an apprentice and his experience of winning.
"The fact that Covid reduced a lot of freelance contract work in my field of design and that the kitchen/ home renovation industry was booming post covid led me to kitchen design. Knowing that the Government had made trade training free through the 'Targeted Training Apprenticeship fund', I decided to partner up with Mitre 10, work in the kitchen department and eventually start the Kitchen Design course. Learning about the kitchen industry has been really positive. Working closely with suppliers, helping customers see their dream become a reality, and meeting and working with so many great people has made the journey amazing. I was a little hesitant going back into training after working for so long but so far, it’s been an enjoyable experience", says Sushil.
Sushil’s Training Advisor, Michele Saunders, shared her thoughts on Sushil’s time so far as an apprentice, "Sushil is polite and courteous in all our interactions. He has very high expectations of himself and wants to provide a high level of service in all his dealings with clients. Sushil attended his first off-job block course in Wellington in November 2021. Comments from the NKBA tutor, Mark Bruce stated that he ‘was a good asset to the class with some very insightful comments and observations. Sushil is an intelligent and clever designer. He can visualise and think outside the box, which is an important characteristic’. Sushil has spoken with me about feedback and photos he has received from clients thanking him for his designs and the customer service he provides. Sushil does approximately two to three kitchen consultations weekly and always has three to five projects on the go. I really enjoy all of my interactions with Sushil and believe he has a great kitchen designing future ahead of him."
Sushil shared his thoughts on becoming an award-winning apprentice, "Winning the Most Promising Student Award was a pretty big buzz! I was very surprised that I won in the first place, given the talent and calibre of students coming through and the companies they had worked for. I didn’t realise I was up for the award, but I believe Mark Bruce saw something in my work that needed recognition. In general, I am happy and shocked. Judy Bark told me on stage that I’m the first male to win the award, which I thought was a great privilege to be a part of. I spoke to some pretty cool people on the awards night who were surprised to know where I worked. I suppose in hindsight, not many large home improvement retailers get the chance to receive such an award which is pretty special!"
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