Apprentice awards recognise exceptional Riviera talent

Australia’s largest luxury motor yacht builder Riviera has announced five winners in its Apprentice of the Year awards for 2020, showcasing the depth of talent within the company’s workforce.

The Riviera honours bestowed on these younger members of the team complement the recently announced TAFE Apprentice of the Year and the AIMEX Apprentice of the Year awards for a further three Riviera apprentices recognised for excellence in their respective boatbuilding crafts.

All of the award-winning apprentices have a shared drive and determination found across Riviera’s 600-strong team, namely a passion for creating the best luxurious blue-water motor yachts.

The Riviera Apprentice of the Year winners are: Joel Neucom (fourth-year apprentice); Miguel Drescher-Paler (third-year apprentice); Zack Tagget (second-year apprentice); and Joe Moxey and Jake Smith (joint winners of the first-year apprentice category).

TAFE and AITC Apprentice of the Year awards

In the separate TAFE Apprentice of the Year awards announced recently, Albert Michell was named first-year apprentice winner for marine craft construction. Kial Lundin-Bingham, a third-year marine craft construction apprentice, was a finalist in these awards.

Another Riviera apprentice, Lauren Abbott, won an Australian Industry Trade College (AITC) award for her skills as a school-based cabinet-making apprentice.

AIMEX Apprentice of the Year awards

Riviera boatbuilding apprentice Bailey Sivyer was also honoured as a finalist in this year’s inaugural AIMEX Apprentice of the Year category.

Riviera Apprentice of the Year Awards

Joel Neucom – Fourth-Year Timber and Composites Machining Apprentice

Fourth-year apprentice winner Joel Neucom is a previous Riviera Apprentice of the Year winner after taking the honours in his first year of training in timber and composites machining. Now fully qualified in his trade, Joel’s passion for creating motor yachts of distinction has grown over the years.

“Starting with raw timber and creating something beautiful from it gives me a lot of satisfaction,” said Joel. “It’s very hands on and I especially enjoy seeing that perfect finish when the boat is launched.”

Joel’s role at Riviera showcases the specialist approach the company takes at each stage of the building process. The finely crafted timber Joel produces is progressed to the cabinetmakers who then create the superbly detailed furniture found in Riviera’s luxury motor yachts.

“We are all proud to be working at Riviera, and our focus on quality and accountability of each tradesperson directly reflects the quality of what we do,” said Joel.

“I reckon there isn’t a better place to start your career in the marine industry than as an apprentice at Riviera.”

Miguel Drescher-Paler – Third-Year Engineering Apprentice

Third-year engineering apprentice winner Miguel Drescher-Paler is another dual award winner after taking second-year apprentice honours in 2019.

“There’s a great team atmosphere at Riviera and that shows in the workmanship and effort everyone puts into their trade,” said Miguel.

During his apprenticeship, Miguel also undertook a leadership course presented by Riviera for select apprentices which has enhanced his personal and professional development.

“I have learned so much more than I could have ever imagined through my apprenticeship and it has given me the confidence to accept a team-leader role in my area of work,” he said.

All apprentices are required to participate in Riviera’s unique Propel program which provides combined education in work and life skills such as leadership, accountability, communication, personal relationships and money management.

Zack Tagget – Second-Year Marine Craft Construction Apprentice

Second-year marine craft construction apprentice Zack Tagget appreciates the new-found confidence he has gained through both the Propel program and his job at Riviera. His role involves the building and fit-out of the superstructure of Riviera motor yachts and he is looking forward to a long-term career with the company.

“The job we do is quite unique because there aren’t too many places where you can build awesome motor yachts of 60 feet or more. The work I do is really interesting and so rewarding,” said Zack.

“Questions are always encouraged at Riviera, and that’s an important part of the team culture. We work collaboratively and that makes it a great place to work.

“I put a lot of energy into everything that I do, and Riviera has excellent quality systems in place to make sure every element of each motor yacht is completed perfectly.”

Joe Moxey – First-Year Electrotechnology Apprentice

Electrotechnology apprentices Joe Moxey and Jake Smith appreciate the shared honours in the first-year category of this year’s awards. After one year into their respective apprenticeships, they have developed a new-found enthusiasm for learning.

“I have this habit of trying to get things perfect every time,” said Joe. “We see it in the work of every member of our team and in the motor yachts we build. The people who know Riviera know what we do and that gives us a sense of pride every time a finished boat is lowered into the water for the first time.”

Jake Smith – First-Year Electrotechnology Apprentice

Jake Smith is motivated to learn more after being honoured in the Riviera awards this year.

“Riviera is a great place for learning because we are always expected to complete tasks well above a standard quality,” said Jake. “Working as a team makes that even easier because everyone is there to support one another to create motor yachts that people really appreciate.”

Apprenticeship offering expands at Riviera

Riviera is currently expanding the apprenticeships on offer for 2021 with the inclusion of fitter/welder and varnish apprenticeships.

“We continue to look for new apprentices to join our team as boatbuilders and composite technicians,” said Riviera’s safety and training manager Adam Houlahan.

Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst paid tribute to all apprentices who received awards and recognition this year.

“These young members of our team are the genesis of the next generation of master boat builders for our industry,” said Mr Longhurst.

“It is with great pride that we acknowledge the support of the exceptional team at Riviera who provide high quality training, mentoring and support that encourages each of our apprentices to excel in their careers and in life generally.

“This is the foundation of our philosophy that to build world-class luxury motor yachts, we must train and create world-class craftsmen and women.”

Riviera’s Apprentice of the Year winners (from left at front) Joel Neucom, Jake Smith, Joe Moxey, Zac Tagget and Miguel Drescher-Paler are presented their awards by Rodney Longhurst (back left) and Adam Houlahan (back right).
Riviera safety and training manager Adam Houlahan (left) and Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst (right) congratulate apprentices recently recognised for excellence in their craft, (from left) Baily Sivyer, Albert Michell and Lauren Abbott.

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