Region’s top apprentice spoilt for choice


Being inundated with job offers from top construction companies was just one of the bonuses Michael Johnson enjoyed after winning the Registered Master Builders Carters 2006 Apprentice of the Year in the Central North Island region.


After taking out the title and completing his building apprenticeship last year, Michael finished building his own house in Palmerston North, with help from his boss Eric Hansen.


“Eric helped out with all the processes of building a house. He was really supportive and even allowed me to have some time off work to complete the job,” Michael says.


Once his new house was completed, Michael and his employer thought it was time for the next challenge, and decided he would benefit from gaining wider experience in the construction industry. So his employer set about spreading the word that the 23-year-old was looking to broaden his horizons.


Potential employers jumped at the chance to have the talented young builder on their team, and Michael suddenly found himself overwhelmed with options.


Huge number of job offers

“I had a huge number of job offers after I finished my apprenticeship, offering really good money. The hardest thing was having to choose which opportunity to take. They were all so good!” he says.


Among them was an opportunity for Michael to take on a new role as a foreman in Mr Hansen’s restructured company, Celk Developments. The young apprentice chose to stay with Hansen and his team, and says he’s really enjoying the challenges the new role presents, and that the experience will hold him in good stead for achieving the goal of one day running his own business.


“Eventually I’d like to run my own company. But first of all I want to get experience in other areas of building, such as the commercial and structural side of things. This means I can understand and do everything myself and won’t have to turn customers down,” he says.


“Having that wide industry knowledge and experience will be really useful.”


Michael received a range of prizes for winning the Central North Island Apprentice of the Year title.


But he reckons the prizes were merely a bonus on top of the overall benefits of taking part in the competition. 


So does Michael have any advice for this year’s entrants?


“Go into the competition with an attitude to win. Don’t settle for what people just tell you to do, it pays to go the extra mile. Adding an extra touch gives you the best shot at being successful.”


Entries in the 2007 competition closed last month. For more information visit or

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