General Engineering
Hawera apprentice scores national title
Hawera apprentice scores national title

An innovative young engineer with a passion for stainless pipe field work was today announced as the winner of the celebrated Stuart Tolhurst Memorial Award at the annual National Maintenance Engineering Conference (NMEC) in Hamilton. 

Jamie Noakes won the award that remembers Stuart Tolhurst, a highly-regarded application engineer, acknowledged as a bearing authority throughout New Zealand who was employed by SKF NZ for over 30 years. He was widely acknowledged as the New Zealand expert and ‘go-to man’ in rolling element bearing design and application. 

Noakes beat out five other finalists for his work at Hawera-based Croucher & Crowder Engineering Services. 

“This is probably my greatest ever achievement, and I am a bit overwhelmed”, said Noakes in accepting the prestigious trophy. 

Making the presentation was Bill Sole, Industry Engagement Manager of Competenz, who said “Jamie, despite being near the end of his apprenticeship in mechanical engineering, is enthusiastic and motivated about his career.  Jamie recognises that there is still a lot to learn and he is already planning on doing his level 5 and level 6 qualifications, and hopes to continue to move up the ranks.” 

Allen Good who is Noakes’ supervisor at Croucher and Crowder, said that Noakes is the “best apprentice he has ever had.  He can run jobs on his own and takes ownership whilst still being a great team player. He is innovative, always looking to create and build new things outside of work”. 

 “This year we had five very worthy finalists who made the selection process very difficult for our judges,” said Sole. 

The runner-up was Mitchell Vickery of Methanex New Zealand Ltd.  

Other finalists were: 

Slone Lingman of ATNZ – NZ Steel Taharoa. 

Cleland Coetzee of Taranakipine Sawmills. 

Nathan Claridge of Tawse Foods. 

The annual Maintenance Engineering Society of NZ scholarship was awarded to Ewen Baker from Otago Polytechnic.  


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