Leading Australian luxury motoryacht builder Riviera has celebrated the success of its apprentice training programme by announcing the winners of the 2017 Apprentice of the Year Awards.

Working in conjunction with the Queensland TAFE (Technical & Further Education), Riviera has trained 74 apprentices including school-based, young and mature-aged apprentices. From this team, Riviera training manager Adam Houlahan and his staff utilised strict criteria to select four outstanding candidates as Apprentice of the Year for 2017, one in each training year.

"We interview each apprentice's direct supervisor, seeking information about attitude, skills and their contribution to the team," said Houlahan. "We also check their work attendance record. The candidates' involvement in our Propel programme is also vital in judging.

“Propel is a programme of monthly sessions in which we teach life skills the apprentices would not learn in their day-to-day work,” he added. “These include personality assessment, leadership, managing and communicating up the line as well as down. We also cover goal setting and how to handle their finances such as credit cards and opening bank accounts. Our mission is to help build great people – taking them from skilled to excellent."

The winners for each year were:

  • Fourth year: Marine craft construction apprentice – Nathaniel D’Ambrosia
  • Third year: Electrical apprentice – Jack Gleadhill
  • Second year: Electrical apprentice – Jayden Lee
  • First year: Timber and Composites Machining apprentice – Joel Neucom

D’Ambrosia said: "I have always loved boats and wanted to learn more about how they work."

D’Ambrosia worked for a time on the development of the new Riviera 395 SUV and recently moved to work in motoryacht fitout. His apprenticeship is now completed and he is a qualified boatbuilder looking forward to expanding his career with Riviera.

Gleadhill commented: “We work on the entire wiring of the motoryachts. I am impressed that Riviera pays us while we study."

Lee pointed out that he chose engineering because it exposes him to the full range of motoryachts and to the entire process of the build. "Our work begins from the time a hull comes from the mould through to sea trials," he said.

Neucom remarked: “I love hands-on work and started at Riviera in cabinet-making. I now work in timber machining.”