A Waikato plumbing apprentice has won a national award for his efforts in the community.
Malone Harris, from FB Hall and Co Ltd, has won the Dux Personal Growth and Development Award, which recognises exceptional talent among the 345 apprentices who are a part of the Apprenticeship Training Trust, one of New Zealand's largest apprentice training organisations.
"It's an award to congratulate someone for the work they do out of work," Harris said.
Harris volunteers for the Church of Latter-Day Saints in Ngaruawahia and runs local events for youth.
Joe Calkin, from FB Hall and Co Ltd, a Waikato plumbing, gas-fitting and drain laying company, says Harris is a stand-out performer and natural leader.
"He's becoming a highly skilled plumber and gasfitter and has a very bright future. He recently passed his registration in plumbing after setting up a study group to help others, as well as himself.
"After just 3.5 years on the tools he's shown he has the right approach and is developing his trade quickly. He's a great member of our team, is very well-liked by clients and has a strong sense of community. His award is well-deserved."
Outside work, Malone is involved in many different things. He and his wife are care-givers for Oranga Tamariki, he's a volunteer for a local charity doing odd-jobs, he's very involved in his local church and he's helped set up a national iwi basketball organisation, Rongomaiwahine Basketball.
He says he has a genuine desire to support the lives of others as well as himself and his family. Harris is a devout basketball fan and supported the Los Angeles Lakers and made no secret of who his favourite player is: "I'm a LeBron fan. No matter where he is, that's who I'll be following."
Harris began his apprenticeship journey with ATT in 2015, after returning home from Australia.
"I was just handing my CV out to companies and ATT were one of the first ones to get back to me," Harris said.
ATT CEO Helen Stephens says Harris' work has been awarded as the spotlight is shining on apprentices and the trades.
"Apprentices are now needed more than ever. While we've all experienced major disruptions this year, it hasn't dented the long-term need to grow trade skills," she said.
Stephens also said, given the housing shortage and the border closure, "apprenticeships are an attractive career option as alternatives become more uncertain".
"Malone is someone who is achieving an enormous amount not only through his trade and training, but also in his community. He thoroughly deserves this recognition," she said.