Joe Dobson, winner of the Registered Master Builders 2008 Apprentice of the Year in association with Carters, has recently returned from the National Tradesman’s Expo in Australia — a business-to-business exhibition specifically dedicated to tradesmen, contractors, subcontractors, owner-operators and serious DIY handymen.
As part of winning the national Apprentice of the Year competition, Joe was given the opportunity to attend a trade show of his choice.
We had a chat to Joe about why he selected Australia’s National Tradesman’s Expo, and why he believes it will be of interest to others in the construction industry.
Q: What impressed you most about the trade show?
A: Having access to see a number of products and different technologies that are not available or marketed in New Zealand. It was also interesting to see the major American influence throughout the show.
Q: What key skills or products were shown at the show, and how will that help you as a builder?
A: Not so much the skills and products, but the knowledge that our industry is constantly changing and improving. To be at the top of your game you have to be up to date and open to new ideas, and aware of new technologies.
Q: What is the value in attending a trade show as part of the national prize?
A: Attending a trade show is a really valuable experience. It gives you the opportunity to see what’s new in the market place and opens your eyes to a range of products and solutions. It makes you realise that New Zealand is just a village compared to the rest of the world. Make sure you do it!
Q: Did you get a glimpse of tools and practices not yet introduced to New Zealand?
A: Sure did. Portable compacting and screed machines, drill adapters for cutting fibre cement sheets and iron, sugar-based concrete dissolvers, van storage systems, new laser technologies, sketching pads that draw straight lines freehand — there was plenty of really cool stuff.
Q: How do you think New Zealand builders would benefit from any of these new initiatives?
A: I think the most tangible benefit builders would gain is saving time in construction methods through new technologies and systems, and producing a higher quality of finished work, which would be perceived as more professional by most clients.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
A: Thank you to the people that make this competition possible and for giving me this opportunity to extend myself. It has been a great chance to be an ambassador for the industry and a delight to share this experience with others.
• The 2010 Apprentice of the Year entries are open now. Track the progress of the competition at the RMB Carters Apprentice of the Year Facebook page atwww.facebook.com, or download an entry form from www.masterbuilder.org.nz.