National apprentice finalists announced


The country’s top carpentry apprentices have been announced at 10 regional awards ceremonies as part of the Registered Master Builders 2007 Apprentice of the Year, in association with Carters.


The regional winners, who automatically become finalists for the inaugural national competition being held in Wellington this month, are David Stark (Northern), Daniel Pritchard (Auckland), Aaron Blofield (Waikato), Sam Harlen (Bay of Plenty), Brad MacPherson (East Coast), Rhys Forsyth (Central North Island), Matt Sharp (Wellington), Cameron Tocker (Upper South Island), Jacob Johnson-Hurrell (Central South Island) and Blair Stuart (Southern).


Upper South Island regional winner Cameron Tocker says he is looking forward to going head to head with other top apprentices from around the country to compete for the national title.
“The regional competition was a great experience, and it will be good to see how I measure up against the other national finalists. It would be an awesome start to my building career to be named the first ever national Apprentice of the Year in New Zealand,” Cameron says. 


Each entrant in the competition was interviewed by a regional judging panel comprised of representatives from national sponsors Carters, Registered Master Builders Federation (RMBF) and the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO).


Following the interviews, up to 10 finalists were selected from each region and the judging panels visited each finalist onsite to determine the regional winners.


Carters representative on the Wellington regional judging panel Craig McMahon said selecting a winner wasn’t an easy task, as entries in the region were of an exceptionally high standard this year.


“All the entrants displayed excellent skills and a real passion for the building industry,” Mr McMahon says. 


Principal sponsor Carters chief executive Stuart Munro says the Apprentice of the Year awards are an excellent opportunity to celebrate the achievements of carpentry apprentices in New Zealand.


“It’s important to recognise the valuable role these young apprentices play within the future of the construction industry in New Zealand,” Mr Munro says.


RMBF chief executive Pieter Burghout is delighted with the success of the regional Apprentice of the Year events in 2007, and says the first-ever national event in Wellington will set a high standard for the future of the competition.


“Taking the Apprentice of the Year competition to a national level is indicative of the quality of our young apprentices. It is an excellent way to promote the high standard of building in New Zealand,” Mr Burghout says.


The Apprentice of the Year competition is part of an initiative to raise awareness of careers in the industry, and is supported by principal sponsor Carters and supporting sponsors the BCITO, RMBF and the Department of Building and Housing.


Each of the regional winners received an Outward Bound leadership course worth $2500 and a study grant of $2000, and will compete for the national prize of a trip for two to an Australasian trade show, and associated travel package to the value of $3500.


The national finalists were flown to Wellington, with up to three guests of their choice, to compete for the inaugural national title on November 5 and 6.


The finalists were interviewed by the national judging panel, and will be hosted for morning tea in the Grand Hall at Parliament by Minister for Building and Construction Clayton Cosgrove.
The national event concluded with a gala dinner at Te Papa on the final day of the competition.

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