Top building apprentices go head-to-head for national title

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2022 Apprentice of the Year winner, Dane Schnell, from the Auckland region.
2022 Apprentice of the Year winner, Dane Schnell, from the Auckland region.

The top building apprentices from across New Zealand will be going head-to-head at the Registered Master Builders 2023 CARTERS Apprentice of the Year national finals at CONZTRUCT in Auckland tomorrow and Saturday.

Now in its 20th year, the Apprentice of the Year competition recognises excellence among carpentry apprentices, and raises awareness of career opportunities in the construction industry.

The competition tests future sector leaders’ project management, business, presentation, and practical skills.

For the regional competition, each apprentice had to submit details of a building project they had worked on, as well as take part in a two-hour practical challenge where they were tasked with building a step stool.

The top 10 participants from each region then progressed to the interview stage with a judging panel, and an onsite visit to discuss their submitted building project in detail.

The eight top apprentices will compete for the national title on November 9 and 10, with the national event consisting of a 45-minute interview with the national judging panel, and an additional six-hour practical skills test.

The winner will be announced at the National Awards Dinner on Saturday night.

The eight finalists are:

Isaac Posthuma
Region: Northern Region
Training provider: BCITO | Te Pukenga
Employer: JR Build
Judges’ comments: Isaac made a great effort during the practical challenge and completed his project to a very high standard. Isaac really came to life during the site visit — his involvement in the project was clear and his passion for building shone through.

Jack Nevines
Region: Auckland
Training provider: BCITO | Te Pukenga
Employer: Faulkner Construction
Judges’ comments: Jack’s application was close to perfection. We had never before seen such an in-depth and detailed submission, and is one of the strongest apprentices we’ve seen during our time. He had a faultless interview and did an excellent job in the practical challenge. Jack has excelled in every aspect of this competition.

Mike Watson
Region: Bay of Plenty/Central Plateau
Training provider: BCITO | Te Pukenga
Employer: JBH Building
Judges’ comments: We were impressed with Mike, and he excelled in the first stage of the competition. With a strong ability to communicate, Mike had an excellent submission that showed a very solid understanding of his project. His practical project was very well built, and we were impressed with his high level of workmanship.

Jess Nielson
Region: Waikato
Training provider: BCITO | Te Pukenga
Employer: Sloan Annand Builders
Judges’ comments: Jess showed great focus and technique with her tools. She is very accurate in her work, shows excellent competency, and her project was finished to an extremely high standard. At her site visit, Jess proved she was a well-rounded apprentice with a clear passion for the trades and a drive to perform. Jess is an impressive apprentice.

Taharangi McWatters
Region: Central North Island/East Coast & Hawke’s Bay
Training provider: BCITO | Te Pukenga
Employer: Wayne Bishop Group
Judges’ comments: During the practical challenge Taharangi had tidy, well-presented tools and worked in an orderly manner.   It’s clear that he has an incredible passion for construction. He is an enthusiastic apprentice, and is well liked and respected by his colleagues.

Tim Parkinson
Region: Cook Strait
Training provider: BCITO | Te Pukenga
Employer: RenovateMe Nelson
Judges’ comments: Tim’s submission showcased his solid understanding of his project, with detailed explanations of tasks and materials used. He consistently referred to acceptable solutions and standards, displaying impressive knowledge.  His techniques and tool utilisation throughout the practical challenge were impressive, demonstrating versatility and confidence. It’s impressive to see advanced skills after only two years of his apprenticeship. 

Jake Rochford
Region: Central South Island
Training provider: BCITO | Te Pukenga
Employer: LOC Construction
Judges’ comments: Jake displayed leadership qualities during his interview, and demonstrated competence in completing tasks given to him. He is already involved with solving complex issues onsite with senior colleagues, and he is a valued team member who works well alongside his workmates.

Craig Burke
Region: Southern
Training provider: BCITO | Te Pukenga
Employer: Bayview Construction
Judges’ comments: Craig’s submission was well laid out, with great utilisation of plans and photos, illustrating the various stages of his build. His site visit highlighted his profound understanding of the practical aspects of building. During the practical competition, his time management skills and commitment to maintaining a tidy site were truly commendable. He also demonstrated a keen desire for knowledge by consistently seeking guidance and ensuring he stayed on the right track.

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