The New Zealand Final of the Carpentry Apprentice Challenge took place at the Certified Builders 17th Annual Conference & Expo in Christchurch in May, with 12 regional winners competing and Lee Holloway from Hawke’s Bay taking away first prize. Paul Maihi from Northland came second and Marcus Devereux from Otago came third.
The final event followed regional apprentice challenges that took place in 12 centres across New Zealand over March-April, which attracted a record number of 60 entrants. While the regional challenges involved a practical building exercise, the final tested the apprentices’ theoretical knowledge through a panel interview and participation in educational workshops.
Certified Builders Chief Executive, Grant Florence, said the calibre of apprentices at this year’s final made it difficult for the judging panel to pick a winner.
“We set up the Apprentice Challenge to promote new apprenticeships and reward apprentices who have excelled, and seeing the twelve apprentices compete in the final challenge really illustrated that there are some talented apprentices out there who are going to go far in the building industry.
"This year, many of the Apprentice Challenge entrants were over 28 years of age, which also reflects a growing number of people retraining and seeing building as an attractive profession. High-quality, qualified builders are vital for this country, which is why Certified Builders so actively supports apprenticeships,” said Mr Florence.
The Carpentry Apprentice Challenge is run by Certified Builders and the Industry Training Association Building (ITAB), an organisation founded and supported by Certified Builders, in conjunction with a number of polytechnics, large construction companies and other employers throughout New Zealand.
More comprehensive than shorter schemes, ITAB provides approximately 8,000 hours (over four years) of extensive practical experience and solid theoretical training, giving apprentices a broad set of essential professional skills.
Certified Builders also supports apprenticeships through its Apprenticeship Scholarship Trust, which supports apprentices in times of personal hardship that would otherwise prevent them from completing their training. Over $10,000 was raised for the Apprenticeship Scholarship Trust at the Fletcher Window & Door Systems Charity Auction which concluded the Certified Builders Conference