Life after Apprentice of the Year

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Former winners of the Wellington Apprentice of the Year, Matt Sharp of Sharp Builders Ltd and Scott Taylor of Mitchbuild Construction, have now become business owners and Registered Master Builders.

Matt, who took out the 2007 Wellington Apprentice of the Year, says winning the competition was a key factor in the success of his business.
“Certainly, when I won the competition, the biggest benefit was industry kudos. There were a few great prizes too and, above all else, it was just a fantastic experience. But years on, I still get recognition for winning the Apprentice of the Year. I mention the title on all my quotes and people always comment on it — that and being a Registered Master Builder gives clients a lot of confidence in me and my business.”

Matt says his apprenticeship gave him the technical building background he needed to succeed.
“From a trade point of view, I think it definitely helped me understand what I needed to know to be a profitable residential builder.
“I encourage anyone thinking about entering to just give it a go. It has been a great base for my career.”

Scott, who won the title in 2009, started his own business when he began his apprenticeship, and has worked on many large scale projects since taking out the award.
“I did my apprenticeship while I was working for myself — which is a bit abnormal — but it worked! I worked as a labourer for four years while I completed a full-time marketing and management degree, and then I started up on my own. I was 21, and I had my own business,” he says.

Scott believes the competition gave him the opportunity to measure himself against others in the industry, and helped him meet other builders who were pivotal to getting his business off the ground.
“When I entered the Apprentice of the Year I had a team of four builders working for me — I didn’t have much to compare myself to. The competition definitely gave me confidence that I was on par with my peers.”

Scott says his apprenticeship provides assurance to clients that he is qualified and is good at what he does.
“More people should invest in apprenticeships. My apprenticeship gave me the skills I needed for a successful building career, but I think it’s more than just the apprenticeship — it’s who you work with and how much they are willing to teach you.
“Employers should really devote time and energy to their apprentices — it makes such a difference.”

Both Matt and Scott have a busy year ahead, and look forward to seeing the next round of successful apprentices in this year’s competition.

Entries for the Apprentice of the Year competition are now open and will close on June 13. For further information, or to enter the competition, go to www.apprenticeoftheyear.co.nz.
Apprentices, employers and those young people aspiring to be a part of the construction industry are also encouraged to join the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/apprenticeoftheyear.

The Apprentice of the Year competition is made possible thanks to principal sponsor Carters, the Registered Master Builders Federation, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), and supporting sponsor the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).