When Jai Beck was told he was named FloorNZ Apprentice of the Year Supreme Award winner he thought it was a scam.
“When I got the email I thought it looked like a scam email read it and thought real?’.”
It was. The 31-year-old flooring installer from Alexandra Flooring Xtra had taken the top industry honours.
Mr Beck was presented with the award, which covers both retail and installation aspects of the industry nationally, at a special presentation in Alexandra on Monday.
“I was blown away, absolutely blown away,” he said.
“It was very special.”
“I think it’s an underrated industry within trades. Everyone wants to go out and become a builder, electrician or plumber, but it’s the flooring that turns a box into a home,” Mr Beck said.
Mr Beck’s employer, Alexandra Flooring Xtra owner Paul Rillstone, said he was “stoked” for Mr Beck.
The honours did not stop there.
Mr Rillstone was recognised for his contribution and commitment to industry training, receiving the inaugural Wayne Young Employer’s trophy.
The award went to the Employer of the Apprentice of the Year, Supreme Award winner.
Mr Rillstone said he was was “blown away” to be recognised.
“I shed a tear to be honest.”
We’re absolutely stoked for Jai and we’re absolutely stoked for ourselves.”
It was important for employers to do more than just train staff, but invest in people and the industry, he said.
That sentiment was echoed by FloorNZ representative Scott Cato, who said Mr Rillstone and his team had created a culture of training and investing in the industry.
Mr Beck’s skill and passion for his craft was evident and had been nurtured well in a positive work training environment, Mr Cato said.