Learners we work with

Cherise Redden


Butcher Apprentice of the Year

Second-year Competenz Butchery apprentice, Cherise Redden won the 2019 Retail Meat New Zealand Apprentice of the Year award.

Cherise works at Countdown’s state-of-the-art meat and seafood processing facility in Otahuhu, Auckland and winning the award has meant a lot. “It’s recognition for something I’ve worked hard at and proves to me that I am good enough. I’m proud of the fact that I am consistently doing well as a female in a male-dominated industry.”

Prior to her apprenticeship, Cherise was a knife hand and says it was a conversation with Countdown Retail Meat Senior Operations Manager Riki Kerekere, that spurred her into the apprenticeship programme.

“I had no job prospects really, Riki asked me if I’d like to work in his chicken boning room. I was a bit apprehensive but I thought, ‘I’ll give it a go!’ I love it – it’s so rewarding. I love every aspect of knife work – speed, cleanliness, presentation and even the physical aspect.”

The early morning starts don’t phase Cherise, who says “waking up at 4am might sound bad, but it’s a positive as there’s no traffic and you finish early!”

Riki is still an inspiration to Cherise, and has taught her “so much” over the years.

After she’s completed her studies, Cherise’s dream is to work her way into a management retail role. “I’d like to do that until I’m comfortable enough to move out of the city and settle in a small rural community, maybe even open my own shop. I’d love to train an apprentice of my own one day.”

Her advice? Just do it! “Sometimes you just don’t know what you want to do when you leave school. I say give it a go like I did – you never know – it might end up being that one thing you never thought you’d enjoy or be good at.”