Sawmill worker wins NZ award
From hoodie to suit and tieCATHIE BELL
Kaituna Sawmill head rig and resaw operator Izaac Filipov has won a national forestry industry training award.
Mr Filipov works at Nelson Forest's Kaituna Sawmill near Blenheim and received his award at a black-tie event in Rotorua last month. He is the Forest Industry Training and Education Council's modern apprentice of the year - wood manufacturing category.
Kaituna Sawmill general manager Matt Bond said Mr Filipov had done "fantastically well".
"It's amazing if you think where he was five years ago. He was in a hoodie, wouldn't look you in the eye. For this, he bought himself a suit and tie, he stood up and spoke to 300 people at a black-tie event . . . It's a great story."
At the award dinner, the Forestry Industry Training and Education Council's Tom Snodgrass said Kaituna Sawmill had a good track record for spotting talent.
“Izaac was quickly seen to have an inquiring mind and an aptitude that only needed direction.”
Mr Snodgrass said Mr Filipov had worked at the Kaituna Mill for five years, where he starts at 5.30am each day to ensure the mill is ready to function when the rest of the staff arrive at 6am.
Mr Filipov was busy working yesterday and was unable to be contacted. However, he said in an earlier interview that working at the sawmill and doing an apprenticeship had given him direction after not doing well at school.
He was the first person to complete the newly introduced apprenticeship course.
He is now helping two other apprentices do the course.
He works on various projects around the sawmill, and is on the company's emerging leaders programme.
Kaituna Mill's head saw doctor, Jamie Howieson, was also a finalist for the awards in the trainee of the year - wood manufacturing category.
Mr Bond said Mr Howieson had been "very unlucky" to miss out on an award.
Mr Filipov and Mr Howieson said the sawmill was a good place to work, and encouraged other young people to look at work in the industry.
- The Marlborough Express