From decks to wine cellars

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Carterton’s Rhys Doesburg feels “pretty good” about taking out second place in the Registered Master Builders 2010 Apprentice of the Year, in association with Carters, especially after he nearly missed out on entering the competition.

His BCITO training advisor Heath McKenzie encouraged Rhys to get involved, but Rhys didn’t think he had the time to fit the competition in.
“I was renovating my house and I had a new family, but Heath persisted. I ended up sending my application by courier on the last day. It really paid off in the end,” he says.
The 25-year-old says he enjoyed the Apprentice of the Year experience, and being measured on his potential to be a leader in the industry.
“It’s nice to know that you’re up there with the best, and it reaffirms that you’re on the right track and have the right ideas. It has already offered plenty of new opportunities and has really given me direction for the future.”

Rhys was born into building. “My dad was always a big home improvement kind of guy, so it’s one of those things that was ingrained in me.”
Starting off building fences and decks in Dunedin, Rhys now lives in the Wairarapa with his partner Alexia and daughter Lucia, and works as an apprentice for Holmes Construction.
He is on the verge of finishing his apprenticeship, and wants to move on and get a cadetship to train as a project manager.
“I want to build a home for my family some time too, and in the long term I want to have my own full construction business. But before that I have to get as much experience as I can, and that’s why I’m aiming to be a project manager first.”

Rhys finds great satisfaction in building someone’s home. “It’s rewarding knowing that you’re adding something special to someone’s life. And at the end of the day, I can see a finished product,” Rhys says.
“That end result is my favourite part about building — it is great having something standing in front of me and being able to say, ‘I built that, and it’s going to be there for a long time’.”
Rhys’ most enjoyable project was working on Martinborough’s Palliser Estate Winery, the project he submitted for Apprentice of the Year.
“It is a wine cellar with a conference room over the top. The wine cellar is quite detailed and is built with steel and concrete. I was involved in that at the beginning of my apprenticeship, so I really learned a lot,” he says.

He is currently working on the Carterton events centre — a $7.9 million project, including a new town hall, a library, a Plunket centre and offices — and a project where his Apprentice of the Year prize pack is likely to come in handy.
“The regional prize pack was great. We had the choice of a $1500 tool voucher or a study grant. I already have my study under way, so I took the voucher. I bought a Makita table saw, and it’s my pride and joy at the moment.”
“I’m also really looking forward to going on Outward Bound next year,” he says, where he will join his nine fellow finalists.

While Rhys admits that while starting out as a carpentry apprentice is hard work, he encourages young people to get involved in the industry.
“The qualification at the end of it all is priceless. There are opportunities to go so much further, even with the Apprentice of the Year competition. Whatever there is to sink your teeth into, just grab it.”

The competition was made possible by the Registered Master Builders Federation, principal sponsor Carters, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation, and supporting sponsor the Department of Building and Housing.

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