Canterbury rebuild inspires winning apprentice


Hamish Ward had to be persuaded to enter the Registered Master Builders Carters 2015 Central South Island Apprentice of the Year competition, but is “stoked” to now have been named the winner. 


The 26-year-old Christchurch man works for Leighs Construction, and is studying towards a Diploma in Construction Management. Hamish originally joined the army, but moved into construction after assisting in Christchurch after the earthquakes. 


He says it felt like a natural career choice for him. “I’m very practically minded, an analytical thinker, and I always like to see how things are put together,” he says. “Since I was quite young, I’ve always been around renovations in the family home, so when I decided to change paths it was only fitting I took up construction.


” Hamish says Leighs Construction South Island operations manager Graeme Earl was the one who encouraged him to enter Apprentice of the Year after he received an apprentice award at work. “I’m pretty stoked I entered. 


The competition is a great opportunity to take a big look at yourself, and see how you stack up against your peer group. To be able to do that early on in your career is pretty amazing. “The competition lets you look forward and see where you’re going to go, and where you want to be.” 


Judges said Hamish is a future industry leader who showed “passion and enthusiasm” for the building trade. “Hamish impressed us from the outset with his confidence and direct communication skills. He explained his project in a faultless manner, and has thorough and extensive building knowledge in both commercial and residential construction,” they said. 


“His enthusiasm for the building trade and his desire to succeed was evident. He impressed us with his positive attitude to teamwork, and had natural project leadership.” Hamish encourages other students to consider an apprenticeship because of the opportunities the industry offers. 


“The building and construction industry is so diverse. Once you’re through the first three to four years of your apprenticeship you can move on to be a foreman, site manager, project manager, get into quantity surveying, start your own business or even move to sales. 


“The industry is just so massive, and to have the apprenticeship tick in the box behind you really gives you the start of your career. The skills you learn through your training not only help you in the workforce but in general life.


” Hamish is looking forward to competing in the National Apprentice of the Year competition in Auckland in October. “I’m excited to see how the Christchurch and Southern guys stack up with the rest of the country!” he says. 


Hamish loves working with commercial buildings in Christchurch, and hopes to enter a future project in the New Zealand Commercial Project Awards. Apprentices, employers and young people aspiring to be a part of the construction industry are encouraged to join the Facebook page at 


For more information visit Owned by the Registered Master Builders Association, the Apprentice of the Year competition is made possible thanks to principal sponsor Carters, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), and supporting sponsors the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and APL through their Altherm, First and Vantage brands.

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