Building his way to the top


Nelson carpentry apprentice Shayne Dickenson was over the moon to take out second place in the Registered Master Builders 2009 Apprentice of the Year, in association with Carters. 


Shayne, 20, was presented with his award at the national final of the competition in Wellington recently by Minister for Building and Construction Maurice Williamson.


Shayne knew he was interested in a career in building when he left school and enrolled in a building course at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).


“I’ve always enjoyed making things, and there has never been any doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a builder,” Shayne says.


“Even as a kid I loved the toy hammers and tool sets, so it was pretty clear I was going to be in the trade from day one.”


While studying at NMIT, Shayne was offered the chance to apply for an apprenticeship with Coman Construction, an opportunity he grasped with both hands.


“Gordon Coman approached the polytechnic and three of us went through an interview process. Luckily for me it paid off,” he says.


Shayne has been with Coman Construction for three years and says he loves being part of their team.


“Gordon and the rest of the guys I work with have been so good to me. They have given me a great base to build from and I’m extremely fortunate to work with a great team.”


The Apprentice of the Year judges were greatly impressed by Shayne’s positive attitude and his approach to his work.


“Shayne lights up when he talks about building. His passion for his work is obvious, and it’s clear he’s a perfectionist who likes to research the technical elements of his projects before he starts a job,” the judges said.


“The entire competition was a great experience — from submitting my work for review to the national event. The most satisfying thing is being rewarded for all the hard effort that goes into putting yourself forward. It just goes to show you only get out what you put in,” Shayne says.


Next step

Looking ahead, he plans to stay with Coman Construction and slowly build his way to the top.


“The next step for me is to just keep doing what I’m doing. I still have a long way to go and the best way for me to get ahead is to learn from the guys around me.”


When asked what advice he would give to apprentices thinking of entering the Apprentice of the Year in 2010, Shayne says “just give it all you’ve got”.


“If you are going to enter, make sure you do it whole-heartedly. There’s no point if you are not going to give it 100%. You really need to go in and give it your all.


“There are great prizes, great people and it looks impressive on your CV. It’s a superb way to set yourself apart, and it shows an employer you’re committed to meeting a high standard.”

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