SWUG New Zealand has its first female Apprentice of the Year in Beacon Print Whakatane’s Taryn Gannaway taking the industry’s top honour – and for Taryn herself, it was an eye-opener to see how much the print industry supports women.
Taryn’s success was made even sweeter by the strength of this year’s competition. Committee member Ian Gibson said the standard of supporting work examples from entrants was ‘sensational’.
When Ian said that the winner was seen as having ‘potential for management’ and announced who it was, Taryn said she was so shocked that ‘everything from there was a bit of a blur’.
“I knew that I had given 100% with my assignments and the entry for the award but I just didn’t know what I was up against. I always prepare myself for the worst outcome so that no matter what happens I’m not disappointed.
“Hence why I was so shocked when they called my name. Being a female I wasn?t sure if I stood much of a chance, but now after having attended the conference I realise that that outlook wasn’t correct and in fact everyone is very supportive of females in the print industry.”
Taryn began her apprenticeship in Digital Print Processes in June 2015 and has completed early. She moved to Whakatane from the Waikato when she was nine and at the age of 14 started working at Beacon Print as a hand collator three nights a week after school. After giving university a try, she returned to Whakatane and went to see general manager Brian Cornes for more casual work.
Brian however had other ideas. “He pushed me to go down to the Whakatane Beacon office and from there I became the classifieds typesetter. Shortly afterwards I got offered an apprenticeship which I accepted.
“After about a year-and-a-half I went through a bit of life and work change and a few of my friends were going overseas to Europe so I decided to go with them. When I returned to New Zealand I went down to the Beacon building but there were no jobs going. However I bumped into Brian again and I needed a job asap so he got me into caregiving at a local rest-home where his wife works.
“I wasn’t there for long before he approached me and stole me back off his wife! Upon my re-employment we agreed to start my apprenticeship again. My job had changed a lot from typesetting so we amended my papers to fit in with the workplace.
“I completed my final seven papers within one year, coming out of my time six months early. I got my final grade four weeks before the SWUG awards so have now finished.”
Taryn gave special thanks to Brian Cornes for his support. “I never thought this was anything I could win. When he told me about it in January I wasn?t even interested, I?m not one to brag or think highly of myself.
“However, he changed that view I had on myself and gave me the support I needed to have faith in what I was doing. Also my partner, Scotty, he’s often seen me put in the hard yards at home finishing an assignment and dealing with the pressure it takes to work a full day then go home at night and finish assignments. He also had a lot of faith in me for this award which has really boosted my self-esteem.”
Brian Cornes said the main reason he encourages staff to do apprenticeships is because of the structure it gives them. “It also guarantees you retain that staff member for three years, and they achieve a great qualification in the end.
“In Taryn’s case, she had left her training to do her OE. Once she came back I had no hesitation in employing her and approaching PrintNZ to modify her apprenticeship to the pre-press side rather than the design, problem solving, colour management etc.”
When nominating Taryn for the Award, Brian called her an asset to the business and praised her preparedness to work in all areas, such as strapping bundles off the press, feeding the inserter or the stitch and trim machine.
“Taryn is often called in outside normal hours, sometimes after 10.30pm and has been known to arrive in her PJs!” he said.
John Spring, Managing Director of the Beacon Media Group, also praised Taryn, saying everyone at Beacon is thrilled for her.
“She is a great staff member and deserves the award. The Beacon has a good record with Matt Lowe winning back in 2010 and Taryn has continued the high standard required to become Apprentice of the Year.”
Looking forward, Taryn is currently finishing a Level 3 health and safety certificate. After that she is considering the Print Management Diploma but is also thinking of taking a few months off to enjoy summer and train for the 100km Oxfam walk that is being held in Whakatane next year.
“Having said that I don’t tend to do things half-heartedly so who knows — I may end up signing up sooner. All I know is that I would like to keep furthering my education and experiences,” she said.
DS Chemport generously sponsor the SWUG Apprentice of the Year Award and Taryn will now travel to Australia on an all-expenses-paid trip to attend SWUG Australia 2017 and also visit a number of printing industry sites.