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The Apprentice of the Year award goes to the most well-rounded apprentice who is currently undertaking or has recently completed a Careerforce apprenticeship programme. This year’s finalists all show commitment to their apprenticeship training and a desire to improve in their role. Meet our Apprentice of the Year finalists who from the aged care, mental health and Kaupapa Māori health services.


Katrina Collins

Support Worker

Goodwood Park Healthcare, Auckland

Katrina is a true success story as a Careerforce apprentice. After working as a cleaner for six years at Goodwood Park Healthcare in Auckland, her natural abilities have been developed and she is now working as a support worker supporting people with mental health problems and those who suffered traumatic brain injury.

Her abilities and work ethic are now being recognised at a higher level and this year she is a finalist for Apprentice of the Year. While working alongside clients as a cleaner she realised she had an innate compassion and affinity with them. Goodwood Park Healthcare recognised this and enrolled her to complete the New Zealand Apprenticeship in Brain Injury Rehabilitation.

“After six years I have been approached to do support work. I have built a lot of relationships up with the clients and over time a lot of trust. I wanted to learn more about how to best work alongside them.”

Her Training Coordinator Emily Spurdle says, “Katrina is a down to earth, hard working woman, with true compassion for the people she works with. As a support worker she is able to work alongside our clients with an uplifting attitude.”

In addition to her role as a support worker, she runs an art group for the clients once a week. This is a way to share her other passion for art. Outside of work she is involved in art exhibitions that raise money for Hospice.

“I am passionate about helping with organisations like Hospice who do fantastic work for families in difficult times.”


Christina Taefu

Programme Facilitator  

Framework Services, Auckland

As a Programme Facilitator for Framework Services, Christina has pioneered programmes designed to empower those who experience a mental illness to develop their natural strengths and capabilities. Christina loves her job in mental health and says, “I love helping people grow and heal to build a life worth living.”

She runs personal development, wellness, and pre-employment programmes. Her past experiences and struggles ignited her passion to be a mental health ambassador and channelled these to make a positive impact in the mental health sector and her Pasifika community. Christina says, “At work I took initiative by investigating where there was need for certain programmes and worked to develop these.”

Christina keeps herself busy advocating for the various causes she believe in. She is a Le Va Youth Advisory Team member, a radio show host for Te Ama Pasefika, she’s also participated in the ‘It’s not Ok’ family violence campaign and ‘Manurewa is my home’ campaign. She’s worked with various organisations to raise awareness about mental health issues as this is a prevalent issue among Pacific people.

She is determined to upskill herself by attending different training courses and has recently completed her New Zealand Apprenticeship in Mental Health and Addiction Support. “I couldn’t be more grateful for the investment my workplace have made into training me. I feel very lucky and grateful to have the opportunity to study and complete the apprenticeship, not only has this been paid for removing the financial barrier but my workplace are very supportive by allowing me to do some study at work.”


Turaukawa Sam Bartlett

Alcohol and Other Drug Youth Worker/Student Counsellor

Te Korowai Hauora o Hauraki, Thames  

Turaukawa Sam Micheal Bartlett is a shining light as a success story coming through the Careerforce training system.

He says the Careerforce journey has supported his personal transformation from someone with no formal qualifications to a proud leader making a difference in his community and successful student. He hopes his journey will inspire others to engage in this journey as well.

“I believe that education is a pathway of guiding a person’s passion; particularly in the field of mental health and addictions where the people we serve depend on our abilities to enhance their wellbeing.”

He says the skills he has gained through his apprenticeship journey has supported his passion and involvement in other community activities these include:

  • Midland MH&A Māori Leadership Network – Providing a mandated voice for mental health & addiction māori development at a regional and national level
  • Founding Member of Korowai Tupu – Professional Association of Youth Workers in Aoteroa. Developing education and youth worker programmes in Aotearoa.
  • Mana Tāne ora ki Waikato Men’s health advisory board – Actively raising awareness of the various health issues facing men in the Waikato area.
  • Coromandel Health Promotion and Strategy Development Group – Safer Coromandel. Developing strategies to minimise harm, accidents and death in the Coromandel area.

He also recently led a community movement in opposing the application of an off license permit to sell alcohol in close proximity to a school. In conjunction to these, he is working with Problem Gambling Foundation in developing a submission outlining the harm gaming machines are currently causing to our community.