Apprentice takes the plunge for second year running


Bill Harkness reckons competing in last year’s Registered Master Builders Carters 2012 Apprentice of the Year has given him the edge for this year’s competition, and he is looking forward to giving other New Zealand apprentices a run for their money.

After taking out third place in the Hawke’s Bay region last year, Bill, of Redmond Builders and Construction, is competing in the East Coast/Bay of Plenty region in the hope of bettering his win.

He says last year’s Apprentice of the Year competition has taught him what to expect this year and which areas he needs to work on.
“I definitely went harder with my entry form and put a lot more effort into my project submission this year. After last year, I felt like I needed to be more in-depth,” he says.
“I don’t think I realised how important the written entry is — if that’s not up to scratch and you aren’t prepared for your interview, you won’t even make the regional final. Being a builder is such a hands-on job that some people may think the written side is insignificant.
“This year I have a much clearer understanding of the level I need to perform at and the people I’m competing against. I’m a lot more confident.”

Bill says that attitude goes a long way in the Apprentice of the Year competition.
“I know I’m very lucky to be doing something that I’m so passionate about. After nearly three and a half years, I’m still excited about getting out of bed and going to work as a builder each day,” he says.

“Enjoying your work really impacts the way you approach it. I take pride in being the first one onsite and being proactive around health and safety.
“I think attitude is a huge part of Apprentice of the Year — it was this and having a great project entry that helped me succeed last year.
“This year, I’m aiming to improve on last year’s third place win. I think that with anything, you should always be looking to better yourself wherever you can, and Apprentice of the Year is a platform for that.”

Bill says any apprentices who are eligible to enter Apprentice of the Year next year should do it.
“The competition is well worth entering — it’s such a valuable experience. You learn some great skills, and even just looking at some of the prizes you can win makes it worth it.
“And best of all is the exposure — it really gets your name out there.”

Regional awards ceremonies kicked off in the East Coast/Bay of Plenty region on August 23. The 2013 national Apprentice of the Year will be announced at a gala dinner in Auckland on October 11.

Apprentices, employers and those young people aspiring to be a part of the construction industry are encouraged to join the Facebook page at

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).

Previous articleFive-year wait to create the ultimate energy-efficient house
Next articleBuilding industry discovers the importance of business cases