Apprentices applauded

The Australian luxury motor yacht builder has celebrated its apprentices at the 2023 Riviera Apprentice of the Year Awards.

11 January 2024


Australian motor yacht builder Riviera has highlighted the achievements and successes of its apprentices during a ceremony to mark the 2023 Riviera Apprentice of the Year Awards.

The awards ceremony, held as part of the end-of-year celebration at the Riviera facility and attended by the entire Riviera team, commemorated four apprentices who demonstrated qualities including communication skills, professional growth and a proactive attitude in their respective trades.

With a skilled team of over 900, including more than 100 talented apprentices, Riviera says its commitment to nurturing the master craftspeople of tomorrow underscores its role in shaping the future of Australia’s marine industry.

Riviera celebrated its 40th year in 2020 and has built over 5,900 motor yachts to date. The current fleet includes 22 individual models from 39 to 78 feet across six model ranges.


The winners of the 2023 Riviera Apprentice of the Year Awards are:

    • Caden Fletcher (Electrical – Second Year)
    • Samuel Gross (Engineering – Second Year)
    • Zidane Farkas (Composite Tech – Third Year)
    • Connor Baruksopulo (Timber & Composites Machining – Second Year).

“Our outstanding team provides unparalleled support to our apprentices, with over 90 per cent successfully transitioning into significant roles at Riviera,” says Riviera apprentice and training manager, Keira Badke.

She reaffirmed Riviera’s commitment to investing in the training and life skills education of apprentices, along with technology, plant and machinery, to maintain its position as one of the world’s leading boat builders.

“Our philosophy is that to build world-class motor yachts, we must inspire world-class craftspeople,” added Badke.

Nicknamed ‘the machine’ for his unwavering focus, Samuel Gross’s exceptional work ethic secured him an award this year. “I worked hard throughout the year, so it feels awesome to have earned this recognition,” Gross says, reflecting on his achievement.

Caden Fletcher, acknowledged for his dedication and attention to detail, expresses enthusiasm for Riviera’s apprenticeship program. “We’ve touched on everything: all sorts of electrical work,” he says. “I’ve been put with a great crew, and have learnt so much.”

Zidane Farkas also feels pride in being honoured alongside a select group of winners. Highlighting the support he has received, Zidane notes: “Everyone is willing to guide you, all the managers — they are always happy to help.”

Connor Baruksopulo, a two-time award recipient, credits the supportive environment at Riviera for his success. “It is reassuring to know that the work I am putting in is noticed and drives me to push myself harder than the year before,” Baruksopulo says.

In her address to the team, apprentice and training manager, Keira Badke emphasises: “Whether you are in your first year or fourth, each is a stepping stone towards greater heights. We build internationally acclaimed luxury motor yachts, so we need our people to be the very best they can be.”

Riviera says it welcomes applications from individuals aspiring to join its apprenticeship program for both school-based and mature-age apprenticeships.



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