NZFMA Feed Trainee of the Year 2013

Media release 16 December 2013
For immediate release

New Plymouth man wins top feed industry training award

New Plymouth-based Tegel Foods Ltd employee Dan Nicholson is delighted after picking up the inaugural  2013 Feed Trainee of the Year Award.  The prestigious award, which will be given annually by the New Zealand Feed Manufacturers Association (NZFMA) , recognises the trainee achieving the highest overall marks in the Association’s industry training programme.

“The introduction of the award in conjunction with our recently developed training courses reflects the NZFMA’s commitment to creating a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce,” says NZFMA Executive Director, Michael Brooks.

30-year-old Dan is a ten-year veteran of the industry, having started as a bagging operator and then a press operator at NRM’s feed mill in Levin where he worked for four years.  In 2008 he relocated to New Plymouth for a lifestyle change and joined Tegel’s New Plymouth feed mill. He has since worked his way through a variety of roles to the position of Senior Operator.

“Dan’s hard-working style and attention to quality and detail have been key factors in his success,” says Tegel Foods’ National Feed Mill Manager, Wharehoe Lissington. “He is always keen to take on new challenges and he has an experienced grasp of the multifarious tasks and skills involved in the operation of a mill.”

Although he was “a bit gobsmacked” to win the award, Dan says the hard work involved in the training course was very valuable in giving him greater industry knowledge.

“The course reiterated what was expected of me in my job and also gave me a very professional framework for understanding what we do, and why, and how it affects customers and consumers down the line,” he says. “A lot of our work is closely concerned with quality, right down to things like the particle size of feeds, which can be critically important.”

As part of his award, Dan was flown to Christchurch last month for a presentation ceremony at the NZFMA’s Annual General Meeting, and attended a dinner with senior feed industry executives.

The NZFMA’s industry training programme was developed in association with Competenz and the Australian College of Training. Study for the 12-month course, which leads to the New Zealand Certificate of Stock Feed Manufacturing, involves a combination of theory units, workplace assessments and two two-day workshop courses.

“Our training course has been carefully designed to be relevant to New Zealand manufacturing conditions, and the feedback that we have received about the inaugural course from trainees and member companies has been tremendous,” says Michael Brooks. “Approximately 20% of our member-sourced funding is devoted to our industry training programme.  It reflects our view that the feed industry offers young people an attractive career pathway.”