From left: Tessa Paaymans, Georgie Fry and Alexi Faulkner

Three apprentices from Hawke’s Bay – all women – won the top accolades recently for their craft skills in industrial upholstery.

The honours went to Georgie Fry and Alexi Faulkner of Douglas Outdoor & Textile Innovation for specific projects and to Tessa Paaymans of Napier Auto Upholstery, who was awarded overall Apprentice of the Year.

The annual Outdoor Fabric Products Association of New Zealand (OFPANZ) Awards for Excellence offer apprentices a chance to showcase their technical skills, design excellence and innovation on a national stage.

OFPANZ Executive Officer Amanda Newport said: “This was the second year in a row that 100% of our Apprentice of the Year accolades have been awarded to females, and all of them from Hawke’s Bay. It is always fantastic to celebrate new apprentices joining the industry, and this year it’s special to be highlighting the creative skill of our women in trades, in what used to be a mostly male career path.” 

And HB’s accolades didn’t end with this trio. 

In addition to the apprentice awards both businesses received Awards for Excellence for their work. Napier Auto Upholstery won in the Vehicle Upholstery category for a full restoration of a 1960 Chevrolet Bel Air, and Douglas Innovation won the Commercial Shade Structures award for their shade installation at Nest Fest. 

And finally, Douglas’ soon-to-be-retiring Production Manager Peter O’Connel was also awarded a Long Service Award celebrating his almost 50 years in the industry and contribution to training apprentices. 

BayBuzz congratulates these individuals and companies. Is there anything Hawke’s Bay can’t do with excellence?!

Photo: InHouse Marketing Ltd

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