How do this year’s apprentices measure up

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Judging is over for the Registered Master Builders Carters 2010 Apprentice of the Year competition, and regional winners are set to be announced.
We caught up with Dave Mudge (RMB), Maurice Blair (Carters) and Graeme Paton (BCITO) to find out about their judging experiences, and how this year’s entrants measure up.

How would you rate the standard of entries this year?
Graham Paton: The standard of entrants is high, but that is no different to any other year. This shows that the industry takes pride in the training it does.

What qualities have impressed you most out of the entrants so far?
Maurice Blair: The technology and tools in the industry are always changing, but the apprentices are really up to speed. Health and Safety also plays a large part in the judging — each year site safety increases and the awareness of that is definitely there.

I also noticed that some apprentices were great at reading and understanding building plans. Those that took the plans home to read and study showed excellent preparation. They had clearly done the homework and this shows real commitment.

Any surprises while judging?
Maurice Blair: The apprentices really seemed to have taken note of the earlier “How to measure up” article in Building Today. They really prepared themselves for the judging.

What has the employer involvement been like this year?
Graham Paton: When we go on site, the employer is involved. They lend support by allowing the judges to speak with them about the apprentices’ skills, attitude, teamwork and responsibility. They are always very open and honest.

What are these apprentices going to bring to the building industry?
David Mudge: In terms of the commercial apprentices, they are going to work up the ladder and become leaders among their teams. The residential apprentices are aiming towards owning their own business.

The calibre of these apprentices is such that the building industry is going to be in safe hands. They have a good understanding of the building code and requirements, and where they didn’t, they knew where to go to get that information.

Does the Apprentice of the Year competition give young apprentices more incentive to do better?
David Mudge: Definitely, but these guys’ workmanship is already of a very high standard. There is more incentive in the non-practical side. The apprentices have to show that they can manage their time and that they know how to put a submission together.

We were also really encouraged by the interviews. The apprentices came in nervous, but once they got started some wouldn’t stop talking. They were enthusiastic, and they left the interview more confident.

Do you have any other comments or observations?

Graham Paton: I have really enjoyed the judging process, it’s been really good. 

Maurice Blair: We’ve had a blast. It’s great to see young apprentices with such a high calibre of workmanship.
David Mudge: This is my fourth time judging the competition, and over the years I have seen a big difference in the quality of the entrants. These guys really are the elite of the elite.

We congratulate the efforts of the entrants this year and, whatever the results, the judges all agree that the industry is in good hands with these apprentices and the mentorship provided by their employers.