Excellence Awards honour best energy and telecommunications trainees

Diana Blake News, Our People

Wellington, 15 November 2021: The best and brightest energy and telecommunications trainees from across the motu have been selected as finalists in this year’s Excellence Awards.

The Connexis Industry Excellence Awards are a recognition of the hard work, dedication and expertise it takes to succeed in the industry.

Connexis Director Kaarin Gaukrodger says with skills shortages a crucial issue facing the electricity supply and telecommunications industries, celebrating and showcasing the careers and achievements of trainees is more important than ever.

“These are the people who keep our country connected. Often when weather conditions find the rest of us inside, they are out in the elements keeping our power on. While we have been unable to hold this year’s event in person, we wanted these talented individuals, who are getting skilled up for all of New Zealand, to still be recognised”.

We are also recognising those individuals who invest their time and energy in training and supporting the success of our youth (aged 16-25 years) who are on their learning journey toward a career in infrastructure through the “Investing in Youth Training and Development” award, she says.  

“Encouraging the next generation into the industry and supporting them to skill up is crucial to the sustainability of the workforce.”

The Excellence Awards mean a lot to the nominees . Bernard Muzengeza, an Electrical Fitter for Wel Networks and winner of the Advanced Trainee of the Year and Overall Trainee of the Year in 2019, says picking up these awards not only capped off the hard work he had put in up to that point, but were a steppingstone to even greater training and career highs.

Winners are traditionally announced at the close of Annual Connection, Connexis’ annual competition event to bring together the electricity supply industry. Covid has forced the cancellation of that event for the second year running, so the Excellence Awards will now go ahead in a new-look, online format on Monday, 6 December from 7pm to 8:30pm.

It will be hosted by broadcaster Jason Pine and will include guest speakers from Connexis and the industry.

It will be open to all finalists; their whanau, colleagues and friends; their nominators and employers; as well as the Connexis team who have been invested in supporting their training success.

Nominees for this year’s awards are:

Debbie Kernohan (Electrix, Auckland)

Jessie Galang (Electrix, Palmerston North)

Carl Moffit (Northpower, Auckland)

Navjot Kaur (CivTec, Hamilton)

Sanil Prasad (Downer, Whakatane)

Timothy Sopp (Reflectech, Wellington)

Danielle Main(Genesis Energy, Lake Tekapo)

Wiremu Te Tawhero (The Lines Company, Te Kuiti)

Seth Batchelor (Unison Contracting, Hastings)

Juliet Fordyce (Unison Contracting, Rotorua)

Bevan Livingston (Downer, Hawera)

Ben Aynsley (ElectroNet Services, Greymouth)

David de Klerk (Electrix, Auckland)

Cameron Childerhouse (iSkills, Mt Maunganui)

James Aranui (Unison Contracting, Hastings)

Aside from the “Investing in Youth Training and Development” category, there are “Trainee of the Year” awards for transmission, generation, distribution, telecommunications and advanced. An “Overall Trainee of the Year” is selected from the five category winners.

The awards are judged by a panel of industry experts who consider aspects of each nominee’s background including attitudes toward training, commitment to career progression, whether they are team players and how they approach challenges.

Comments from judges indicate the calibre of this year’s nominees has been as high as ever, with an enthusiasm to pursue professional development even despite the challenges caused by Covid.

Finalists’ names and details of the event are posted to the Connexis Facebook page and website.