A diversional therapist, a youth coach, a mental health worker and a disability support worker are the winners of this year's Training Excellence Awards, hosted by the Industry Training Organisation Careerforce.

Thames-based youth worker Turaukawa Sam Bartlett from Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki was crowned Maori Trainee of the Year, while Auckland-based mental health worker Christina Taefu from Framework Services claimed the Pasifika Trainee of the Year title.

Christchurch-based diversional therapist Roxana Thornton from Homestead Ilam took home the Trainee of the Year award while Auckland-based disability support worker Katrina Collins from Goodwood Park won Apprentice of the Year.

Careerforce's chief executive Ray Lind says there was an extremely high calibre of applicants for this year's Training Excellence Awards.

"It was a tremendous honour to read through the many applications from trainees and apprentices across New Zealand, an extremely difficult challenge to narrow these down to finalists and ultimately, the winners," Mr Lind says.

"Tonight's winners have all been chosen because of their commitment to training, their own professional development and the wonderful contributions they have made to their workplaces and communities," he says.

"In our eyes, all of our trainees are winners. The journey through workplace training is often a challenging one, because as trainees you need to combine your everyday jobs and your commitments to family and whanau with your studies.

Ray Lind, Roxana Thornton and Richard Westlake. Photo/Mark Tantrum
Ray Lind, Roxana Thornton and Richard Westlake. Photo/Mark Tantrum

"We are so proud of what you have all achieved and the great work these trainees and workplaces do in supporting the health and wellbeing of New Zealand," Mr Lind says.

Mr Lind says the Awards are an opportunity to recognise and reward dedicated people who show commitment to training, a desire to improve in their role and contribute to their communities.

"These are people working in mental health and addiction support, disability, aged care, social services, youth work and the many other important sectors that contribute to better outcomes for New Zealanders."

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The Awards categories included Apprentice of the Year, Trainee of the Year, Māori Trainee of the Year and Pasifika Trainee of the Year, as well as the Workforce Development Employer of the Year award for the organisation, company or business that offers exceptional training to Careerforce trainees and apprentices.

The Awards ceremony was held at Te Papa on Monday night as part of the Careerforce Workforce Development Conference. The ceremony also included the graduation of 31 of the first ever health and wellbeing apprentices from various workplaces across New Zealand.

Careerforce is the Industry Training Organisation (ITO) for the hygiene, health and wellbeing sectors. The ITO supports employers across New Zealand to implement workplace-based training programs so staff can gain nationally-recognised qualifications through on-job training.