Three National Awards for Natural Talent

It’s been an exceptional 12 months for 30-year-old Jasmine Dheda. After receiving the Outdoor Fabrics and Products Association of New Zealand (OFPANZ) 2016 Apprentice of the Year (Tier 1) award in July last year, she has also now been awarded with both the OFPANZ 2017 Apprentice of the Year (Tier 2) and the overall OFPANZ 2017 Apprentice of the Year award. It’s a phenomenal achievement for the Medical Textile Technician from Custom Technologies Limited, Taupō.

It was unbelievable to have received both awards,” says Jasmine. “It was quite a surprise to have been named the overall apprentice of the year too as there were some really good entries. I was extremely excited when they read out my name!

After her success in 2016, Jasmine felt she had what it took to win the Tier 2 category and become apprentice of the year once again. “I knew I was capable and had the necessary skills so I felt I stood a good chance of winning,” says Jasmine.

Entrants for the Tier 2 award - open to both OFPANZ members and non-members who were apprentices in MITO‘s Motor Trimming or Canvas Fabrication training programmes, had creative license to come up with their own design and construct a messenger bag with no predefined criteria. Jasmine knew exactly what she wanted to do.

“I had the design for a handbag in my head for some time,” says Jasmine. “I even had the material already but just hadn’t found the time to make it. So, when this opportunity came along, I decided to redesign the handbag into a messenger bag. It was green leather and I did a diamond stitch quilting on the front with piping around the edges.”

Jasmine Dheda 2017

Apprentice of the Year Jasmine Dheda with her award-winning messenger bag

“I started the stitch lines, left the threads long and tied them up at the back so they wouldn’t come undone - which eliminated the need for back tacking,” says Jasmine. “I think it looked a lot tidier that way and was all part of my original vision for the handbag. I also wanted to focus on getting the stitching as perfect as I could.” The finished design took over 40 hours to construct but Jasmine enjoyed seeing the design in her head become a reality.The near faultless workmanship and excellent design of her messenger bag was what really stood out with the judges. They highly commended Jasmine on the seamless stitching but were particularly impressed to see no back tacking.

Together with her certificate and trophy, Jasmine received an industrial fabric welding kit generously donated by Carr New Zealand Ltd – valued at over $1000. She also received a $750 monetary grant from MITO and had her flights to the OFPANZ Annual Awards Dinner in Queenstown, where she was presented with her award, sponsored by W Wiggins Ltd.
Describing the awards as the greatest achievement of her career so far, Jasmine is full of gratitude to her sponsors. She also attributes her success to the help and support of her family and employer. “My husband Vijay, and my children Zyan and Zara have been absolutely amazing. And my supervisors Warren and Mike, who taught me so much, have been there for me at every opportunity. I really appreciate all they’ve done.”

But the plaudits keep coming for Jasmine. As well as recently completing her National Certificate in Canvas Fabrication (Level 3) through MITO, she received a 2017 MITO Business Skills scholarship which offers a professional development opportunity for those aspiring to management excellence through the completion of MITO’s First Line Management training programme.

“I decided to apply for the scholarship as I wanted to continue to further my skills. I aspire to having my own business one day and I know this programme will help me work towards that goal and gain an understanding of what it takes to run an efficient and successful business.”

Custom Technologies Limited Director, Mike Rohloff, says “I am absolutely delighted for Jasmine. She thoroughly deserves these awards and has worked hard to complete her apprenticeship. Her determination, work ethic and natural talent, make her an invaluable member of our team and I firmly believe she will continue to excel in her career with this scholarship. I couldn’t be more thrilled for her.”

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