joiner Mohamed Valibhai really has gone the extra mile.
Originally from Tanzania, Mr Valibhai, who is in his early
20s, moved with his family to Lumsden 10 years ago.
He is now in his third year working for Dunedin firm
Stevenson and Williams, through the Otago Chamber of
Commerce's 4Trades Apprenticeship Scheme.
He is looking forward to a trip to Australia next month after
winning the Australian Woodworking Industry Suppliers
Association's John Tiddy Memorial Award.
The award was established in 2008 to commemorate the late
John Tiddy's contribution to the Australasian furniture and
woodworking industries, and his contribution to AWISA.
The award was for an apprentice in the woodworking industry
from each state in Australia and one from New Zealand to
receive a trip to the AWISA 2014 exhibition in Brisbane in
The awards will be presented at a special breakfast and the
apprentices will also receive $A2000 ($NZ2150) towards their
training course fees.
Both 4Trades facilitator Bill Cubitt and Stevenson and
Williams joinery supervisor Andrew Duncan were delighted with
Mr Valibhai's success.
Last month, Mr Valibhai won three awards in the Master
Joiners apprentice awards in New Plymouth.
He won best timber project (4001-8000 hours), highest judged
for workmanship and skill, and the people's choice (4001-8000
Mr Duncan received the Gordon Caulfield Memorial Trophy for
being the employer of the apprentice who won the best
4001-8000 hours timber project.
Mr Valibhai moved to Lumsden when he was 12 and his parents
run a dairy and cafe in the northern Southland town.
He studied at the University of Canterbury for a year before
deciding he wanted to be a joiner.
He spent a year doing a pre-trade joinery course at the
Southern Institute of Technology in Invercargill before
joining Stevenson and Williams, which needed an apprentice.
In his application for the John Tiddy Memorial Award, Mr
Valibhai said he felt privileged to live in such a beautiful
He prided himself in manufacturing high-quality work and
gained satisfaction from seeing the finished product.
Coming from a third-world country gave him focus and strength
to work harder and make a better lifestyle for himself.
His dream was to eventually return to Tanzania and work as a
joiner, and possibly one day open his own workshop.
Mr Cubitt said the young apprentice was very humble and he
was ''just quietly getting on with it''.
The recognition was also great acknowledgement for Stevenson
He was getting superb training, Mr Cubitt said.