Plain Sailing for Nelson Apprentice

Working in a job that uses his hands is just right for Nelson’s Carlo Wallace.

Carlo is an Apprentice Fabricator at Transport and Marine Covers and he loved the job the moment he started. The 22 year old is nearly a year in to his MITO apprenticeship and has just won the 2015 OFPANZ Apprentice of the Year – Tier One (Outdoor Fabric Products Association of New Zealand).

“I really love my job, it’s as simple as that,” said Carlo. “There’s such great variety in what we do and I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands, so the role really suits me,” he added. The company manufactures a variety of shade, weather protection and cover products from their Nelson base. “The range of products the industry manufactures is a lot bigger than people probably realise. There’s all sorts of covers required for trucks and the marine and commercial sectors too, plus bags, blinds and awnings – that will always keep the job interesting,” said Carlo.

I really love my job, it’s as simple as that.

The OFPANZ Award is for apprentices with less than 15 months experience and required apprentices to make a duffel bag to a set pattern. “I made two practice bags, and entered my third. It was a great experience as I’d only had six months of my apprenticeship when I made it, and had to use some techniques I hadn’t yet learnt, and had to be delicate yet precise in my stitching. It’s really exciting to have won,” said Carlo.

It’s the experienced team with a wealth of knowledge which Carlo most appreciates. His supervisor, Factory Manager Darryn Cunningham has been with the company for 15 years having been an apprentice himself. “The award is great for Carlo and I’ve already seen him grow in confidence as a result. It gives him more courage to try new things at work,” said Darryn.

Transport and Marine Covers also won the Shade Sails Domestic, and Shade Sails Commercial award categories at the 2015 OFPANZ Awards. Owner Christine Clark has had the company for three years and is proud of the company’s achievements. “It’s important for the industry to have apprentices coming through, and for our experienced staff to be sharing their wisdom. We have a great team here and it’s terrific for their skills to be recognised,” said Christine. 

For apprentice Carlo, he’s pleased to be surrounded by such experienced colleagues as he continues in the job he loves. 

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