2015 Snap-on Tools Apprentice of the Year awards results

A New Zealander takes out the top prize, first in the seven-year history

Auto mechanic Benjamin Fretwell, 20, of Dunedin has joined an alumni of excellence after being awarded the 2015 Snap-on Tools Australia Apprentice of the Year Award, taking home over AU$12,500 worth of prizes and the accolade of his industry leaders. This is the first time in the seven-year history of the award that the prize has been awarded to a New Zealander.

Ben Fretwell Snap-on AOTY 2015 receiving prize

Benjamin, an apprentice at Mosgiel Towing and Mechanical, took out the prize this year after he provided an impressive submission to the panel of industry heavyweights, and following intensive reference checks with his teachers and workplace. Benjamin adds this award to a busy year of accolades, having recently been awarded the Otago MTA apprentice of the year for 2015. Benjamin’s dedication to his career won praise from the judging panel.

“Once I finish this apprenticeship, I would like to go on to further study,” explained Ben in his submission.

“I think completing the electrical and A Tech qualifications would equip me with the skills I need to become a successful business owner.”

The Snap-on Tools Apprentice of the Year is dedicated to acknowledging the commitment and passion of the next generation of tradespeople across the automotive, heavy machinery, marine and aviation industries, with an additional focus on the defence forces.

A 21-year-old motorcycle apprentice from Adelaide, Harrison Norton, fought off the competition to be awarded the 2015 Snap-on Tools Australia Apprentice of the Year Rising Star Award, taking home $2,500 worth of prizes and the accolade of industry leaders. Harrison’s determination, passion and enthusiasm for motorcycles shone through the tough levels of judging, revealing the apprentice’s focus on his future. The judges decided that the young apprentice was exhibiting great potential for the industry and would be likely to go far in his chosen career.

Harrison Norton Rising Star AOTY receiving prize

Now in its seventh year, Snap-on Tools’ prestigious annual awards program received more than 300 entries from apprentices across Australia and New Zealand – from small petrol stations to underground mining operations. Ben’s award comes after intense analysis of all applicants. A shortlist of 20 finalists was scrutinised by a panel of judges including:

• V8 Supercar driver, Michael Caruso;

• Motor Traders’ Association of NSW, RTO Manager, Greg Baxendale;

• Defence Force – Army, HQ Army School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, National Technical Training Manager, Wayne Allan;

• Auto Skills Australia, Training Package Specialist, Stuart Behrend;

• Snap-on Tools Business Manager and auto engineer Alan Moon.

Snap-on Tools Australia National Sales Manager, Steve Jones is very proud of the results of the Apprentice of the Year program, acknowledging that the initiative identifies a very high calibre of candidates and that the standard is increasing each year.