MITO Apprentices Going for Gold

For the first time in history, two talented MITO female apprentices scooped the field at the CRA Annual Conference held in Auckland this week.

Congratulations to Sidney Clow (Matamata Panelworks 2000) who won the ‘Golden Gun’ award for vehicle refinishing and Victoria Hine (Fine Finish Ltd) who was presented with the ‘Golden Hammer’ award for collision repair.

The CRA Apprentice of the Year Awards recognise dedication, focus and commitment to learning, as well as practical abilities, quality workmanship and study achievements.

Sidney Clow

Golden Gun winner Sidney Clow says she enjoys specialising in refinishing. “My passion for the automotive industry grew into something more serious during a college networking event, that opened my eyes to the potential of a challenging yet fulfilling career” she says.

Sidney recognises the value of her apprenticeship and her New Zealand Certificate in Automotive Refinishing. “The satisfaction of seeing a beautifully repaired and painted car is a feeling hard to beat. The constant strive to achieve perfection with colour matching and finishes keeps everyday exciting.”

Victoria Hine

Golden Hammer winner Victoria Hine is passionate about cars and vehicle repair. “I had my Nissan Skyline through a panel shop, and they let me inside to show me around. I found it interesting and was inspired to try it out for myself.”

“I enjoy panel beating, it feels more impact is made visually when repairing while keeping track of all the details to have a rewarding outcome. You’re only as good as your last job so I make sure I do my best every time!” she says.

The awards were presented by MITO Executive Director Verna Niao and CRA President Warren Flowerday, who warmly congratulated Sidney and Victoria on their remarkable achievements.

“Women in the automotive industry are driving change. Their diverse perspectives and expertise are essential to new way of thinking and shaping the future of the automotive industry" Verna says.

Verna also recognised both employers of these two golden winners. “Empowering their apprentices through professional training is an investment in the future. These employers help shape capable professionals and cultivate commitment, and standard of excellence within the industry."

Warren says, “Congratulations to the two female winners! Your hard work, dedication and talent have truly shined, proving that skills know no gender."

Gus Gilmore, Chief Executive Te Pūkenga – New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology “I am delighted to see two apprentices taking the honours for the first time. This is a testament to the excellent work by all in growing our pipeline of women in traditionally men’s vocations and a huge demonstration of outstanding achievements by the two winners.” 


Photographer - Lissa Photography