Apprentice climbs winner’s podium



Jono Blakely of Andrew James Builders Ltd was ecstatic when he was awarded first place at the Central South Island Registered Master Builders Carters 2016 Apprentice of the Year competition.

The 21-year-old from Christchurch says winning the regional Apprentice of the Year was a fantastic achievement, and a great improvement from his second place win at 2015’s regional competition.

“I really enjoyed my first Apprentice of the Year experience, meeting like-minded apprentices who are striving to be the best.

“So I entered the competition again last year with the goal to do one better than last time. I was incredibly happy with the result,” he says.

Jono says the highlights of last year’s competition included the site visit with the judges, and attending the Big Day Out with the other apprentices.

“It was really satisfying to show the judges what I had been working on. It was also great to see some of the commercial sites in Christchurch — there is some great work happening around the city,” he says.

Although Jono had been through the process before, he explains that the interview with the judges was just as challenging as his previous experience.

“It definitely helped that I had been through the process before as I knew what to expect. But there was a new panel of judges this time so the questions were different, and some of them definitely put me on the spot,” he says.

Jono credits his employer Andrew James Builders Ltd for their mentorship and investment in his future.

“I knew I wanted to become a builder from a young age, so it’s great to have an employer who is incredibly passionate about the industry and willing to teach me everything they know,” he says.

Jono encourages other apprentices to enter the competition as it is a great way to get your name out there.

“Winning the regional Apprentice of the Year has given me greater recognition in the industry, and shows that I am striving to set high standards for my work,” he says.

Jono enjoyed being a part of the national competition in November where he was able to meet the other apprentices and take part in the practical challenge building a playhouse.

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

The Registered Master Builders Apprentice of the Year in association with Carters 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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