The winners were announced at Parliament this week before an audience of 350, alongside competitors from 20 other trades.
Kieran (21) beat seven other contestants to win first place and says the print and theory tests were difficult. The contestants were required to print a job of solids and pictures in a five-hour on-the-job practical test, and were then tested on the theory of printing in Wellington.
His test was completed on an older four-colour GTO, which made the win all the more worthwhile while other contestants were able to use the very latest technology at their workplaces. Kieran has been printing for two years, and doesn’t coming from a printing industry background.
His employer, David Gick says that Kieran shows all the attributes of making a top class printer.
"The combination of Kieran’s attitude to his work and training, and the company’s work ethic give us a leading edge and I am very proud of this huge achievement for a small company."
The inaugural competition was open to sheetfed apprentices with a supervised common test job in their own printing plants. These jobs were then judged and the top three entrants went to Wellington to complete some practical skills including guillotining and ink mixing, before the final placings were announced.
The Skillex New Zealand competition is a precursor to the World Skill Olympics and the next step in the plan is for Kieran to attend the World Skill Olympics in Osaka, Japan, in 2007.