Olivia Ward from Hunt Construction was overwhelmed when she was awarded first place at the Upper South Island Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2017 Apprentice of the Year competition.
The 23-year-old from Blenheim said winning the regional Apprentice of the Year was an amazing feeling and a great opportunity to represent her region at the national competition.
“I was absolutely thrilled and overwhelmed with happiness when I won. It was an incredible feeling to win the title and to get to take part in the national competition,” she says.
Having never picked up a hammer and nail before she entered a job in the trades, Olivia says becoming an apprentice was the best decision she ever made.
“I fell into this career when I really needed a job, and ended up helping out a local company building sheds. I quickly grew to love it, and I’m very grateful to have found this career path,” she says.
Olivia entered the competition to make her mark as a woman in the carpentry trade.
“I feel very strongly about encouraging other women to get into the trades and promoting the opportunities available for them. Taking part in the competition opened so many doors for me to progress in a career I love, which was really rewarding,” she says.
Olivia says while the tight time frame of the national competition practical component was a challenge, she found the whole competition experience exciting.
“The practical challenge was a busy and intense atmosphere with such a tight time frame for completion of the project. It’s great to be able to look back now and see the areas where I could have improved and done things differently.
“The national competition was a real eye opener for me — it was like nothing I had experienced before. It was great to meet like-minded people in the industry, and I learnt a lot about myself and the trade I’m in. All round, it was an amazing experience and such a rewarding opportunity for me.”
Olivia encourages other apprentices thinking of entering the competition to give it a go.
“You have nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain,” she says.
Entries for the Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2018 Apprentice of the Year are open until June 4. Apprentices interested in entering should visit www.apprenticeoftheyear.co.nz for more information.
Apprentices, employers and young people aspiring to be part of the construction industry are encouraged to join the Registered Master Builders Facebook page at
The Registered Master Builders 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).