Top apprentices bound for success


Spending three weeks in the bush without a cellphone or a TV wouldn’t be the ideal holiday for many young men, but for two of the country’s top carpentry apprentices it was the experience of a lifetime.

Registered Master Builders Carters 2006 Apprentice of the Year winners Simon Dumble and Andrew Meiklejohn say completing the Outward Bound leadership course they won as part of their Apprentice of the Year prize package was one of the most valuable things they have ever done.

“At first the experience was a bit of a shock to the system,” Simon, 22, says. “You’re thrown into this foreign environment with a group of people you’ve never met before and asked to complete a range of physically and mentally challenging tasks.”

The Bay of Plenty Apprentice of the Year competition winner believes the course was a really rewarding self-development process.
“The experience pushed me to my personal limit and made me recognise what I could achieve when I really put my mind to it,” he says.

Held in Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds, the 21-day leadership course aims to inspire personal and social development through value-based experiential learning in an outdoor environment and, along with a $2000 study grant and tool kit, is part of the prize package for regional Apprentice of the Year winners.

The Outward Bound group was made up of a mixture of apprentices from a range of other industry training organisations, including electrical, plumbing, flooring and cabinet making.
The group was separated into two smaller “watches” and set a range of physically and mentally demanding activities, including spending three days and nights solo in the bush.

Dramatic change of pace

“Being alone in the middle of the bush was a dramatic change of pace, especially after working with the people in my watch and completing so many group-based activities,” Andrew, winner of the Southern region’s 2006 Apprentice of the Year competition, says.
“It really made me stop and reflect.”

Both men agree many of the skills they learnt on Outward Bound can translate to the building site.
“There was a massive focus on leadership and working as a team to achieve a common goal, which is essential on any building project.
“It was great to come back to work and be able to apply some of the things I had learnt,” 21-year-old Andrew says.

After three weeks working and learning together, it’s no surprise that both apprentices plan to stay in touch with the people from their watch.
“We all got on really well and I made some great friends. We’re all going to stay in touch, and the guys are even planning a snowboarding trip later in the year,” Simon says. 

Last chance for emerging apprentices!

It’s the last chance for talented young carpentry apprentices to get their entries in to the Registered Master Builders 2007 Apprentice of the Year competition.
With the support of principal sponsor Carters, entrants will be in with a chance to experience the Outward Bound leadership course.

All entrants in the competition will receive a complimentary one-year apprenticeship membership to the Registered Master Builders Federation.
Regional placegetters will receive prize packs from Carters, including tools and products from DeWalt, Patience & Nicholson and Stanley Tools, along with merchandise from the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) and the Department of Building and Housing (DBH).

Backed by principal sponsor Carters and supporting sponsors the BCITO, Registered Master Builders Federation and DBH, the 2007 competition will also see the introduction of a National Apprentice of the Year title for the first time.

To find out more about the Registered Master Builders 2007 Apprentice of the Year, or to download an entry form, visit or, or drop into your local Carters store to pick one up.

Entries in this year’s competition close on July 31.

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