Fourth-year print apprentice Taylah O’Brien of Hansen Design and Print has finished second at the biennial WorldSkills awards, competing against apprentices across multiple trades.
The SA-based apprentice beat the highly-awarded Chloe Rudd to take the regional prize, showing that there is a strong current of female print apprentices in the state.
O’Brien says, “It was amazing, I had never been to Sydney before, and got to do a bit of sightseeing, and the competition.
“I was really surprised. It is such a tough competition, all the competitors did an amazing job, and it was hard to tell how I went in the competition. When I was called onto the stage I thought I had won the bronze, so was excited to find that I had won the Silver.
“We were competing against apprentices and university students studying graphic design. We started at 8:30 in the morning, going through to 5pm with an hour lunch break. There was a different design brief every day. Day one included a logo, brochure, pull up banner; day two was a logo, poster, signage, t-shirt, while the third day we had to complete packaging design.
“I want to say thank you to Rob Hansen, and Hansen Design and Print, they have been great, as well as my lecturers at Adelaide College.
“I will finish up in December this year. Hopefully I will get to stay at the job I am at now, as I love it here.
Rob Hansen, owner, Hansen Print and Design, says, “She has been absolutely sensational, right from day one. We took her on from another establishment, originally in the screen industry, took a punt and employed her, and she has been amazing.
“We are in a regional area, a country town halfway between Adelaide and Melbourne, so to get people of Taylah’s calibre is incredible.
“We have just picked up another apprentice, a printing machinist, he has been sensational as well.
“Not all apprentices are great, but there are kids out there genuinely interested in the trade, and going to be a great asset for any business to take on.
“We do a lot of research, which is a benefit of living in a regional area. The lad we recently employed was heavily involved in sport, so we spoke to parents, coaches with the state basketball association, asking people he is involved with there how he is, they gave a glowing report.
“You have to do your homework with apprentices, but we have been very lucky.”
“We are based in Naracoorte, and Mount Gambier, and have other locations in border towns, also including Ararat in Victoria, with 20 employees all up. I took the business over in 1980, it was started by my uncle, Norman Hansen, in the 1950s.
“We dived into digital four, five years ago, it is the best thing we have ever done.
“We still use conventional offset for government work, corporate work, tourist area, pretty much everything.
“We do a lot of stud catalogues for the beef industry, which is seasonal, tourist visitor guides for the region, and go as far as the city of Adelaide where we have a lot of corporate clients.”
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