Nine apprentices vying for top 2013 title

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As this issue went to print, nine carpentry apprentices from all over New Zealand were due to compete for the title of Registered Master Builders Carters 2013 Apprentice of the Year.

After winning their regional competitions, the apprentices undertook a 45-minute interview with the national judging panel, followed by a practical carpentry challenge the next day.

Each apprentice was tasked with completing a small building project, which will be gifted to a local charity on completion.
For the first time in Apprentice of the Year history, the practical challenge was open to the public at The Cloud, Queen’s Wharf, Auckland.

Northern: Eugene Sparnon, 22, of Kumeu, employed by Architectural Edge Ltd 

Judges comments: Eugene was a stand-out entrant in the Northern area — his passion for the building industry combined with his ability with technology confirmed his first place win for the Northern region. He is respected by his employer and fellow workmates, and is very methodical and organised in his building career. He has high expectations for himself and relishes the opportunities that enable him to achieve.

Eugene presented judges with his work on a large scale Rothesay Bay renovation, which involved a substantial extension of the main family living areas, as well as a new garage, games room and main entrance.

Auckland: Kate Ross, 26, of Herne Bay, employed by CG Low Building Ltd 

Judges comments: Kate demonstrated an excellent overall understanding of the construction industry and its many rules and regulations. Her passion for building was evident in the high quality work she produces and the glowing endorsements from her employer and client alike. She has earned the respect of her colleagues and clients, and has developed an excellent skill set, putting her on track to become a first-class tradesperson.

Kate presented judges with her work on a home in Grey Lynn, which included the construction of a large basement garage and workshop, and extensive renovation of the existing bungalow.

Waikato: Mark Bell, 22, of Hamilton, employed by Lobell Construction

Judges comments: Mark is highly respected by his fellow colleagues and he places his employer in high regard, treating the company as if it were his own. It is well known that Mark will research his project at night to ensure he has complete knowledge of his work, guaranteeing he is fully prepared onsite every day. He is passionate and meticulous in his work.

Mark presented judges with his work on the renovation of Les Mills Gym Hamilton, including turning the old car park space into changing rooms and forming new space for the reception area.

Bay of Plenty/East Coast: Bill Harkness, 21, of Havelock North, employed by Redmond Builders and Construction 

Judges comments: Bill has set a new standard in the construction industry — his attention to detail with this complex build was evidenced to the highest level throughout his whole project. Standing out from his peers with an outstanding set of skills, this young man’s ability is something to aspire to.

Bill presented judges with his work on a new build in Havelock North.

Central North Island: Jonathan Yorke, 22, of Palmerston North, employed by Arnott & Arnott

Judges comments: Jonathan’s entry application and endorsement letters were among the best in the region, and his trade knowledge, practical ability and communication skills are outstanding. His work ethic and passion for the industry was backed up by high praise from his employers. Jonathan is a worthy winner of the regional award and an asset to the construction industry.

Jonathan presented judges with his work on the construction of a new single-storey brick home in Marton, a large scale build which encompassed a range of interesting features and challenges.

Wellington: Ben Mitchell, 24, of Wellington, employed by Scotty’s Construction 2002

Judges comments: Ben has an extensive knowledge of the construction industry and a thorough understanding of his current project, which is a new residential home. He has a good eye for detail, and already has a broad range of skills, although he is very receptive to being taught new techniques. There is no doubt that Ben will achieve great things in the industry, as he clearly has the ambition to succeed.

Ben presented judges with his work on a $1.5 million new build in Lower Hutt, a four-bedroom, two-storey home covering 225sq m.

Upper South Island: Andrew Higgins, 23, of Nelson, employed by Dusty Builders Ltd

Judges comments: Andrew interviewed well and has strong overall industry knowledge for someone so young in the trade. We were extremely impressed by how proud Andrew was to work for the company he represented. His passion and drive to be successful was very evident and his attention to detail was impeccable. We believe he will be a leading figure in the industry in years to come.

Andrew presented judges with his work on a regional residence in Tasman, which contained many challenging elements that required advanced skills and detailed finishing work.

Southern: Peter O’Sullivan, 22, of Dunedin, employed by Lund Construction

Judges comments: Peter is a mature young man and will go far with his obvious abilities in the commercial construction sector. He is confident and has an excellent knowledge of the construction industry. We feel he will represent the Southern Region well at the national competition.”

Peter presented judges with his work on the basement of a three-storey hospital, and the administration and residential ring at the Summerset Retirement Village.

Central South Island: Micheal Rochford, 23, of Christchurch, employed by DJ Hewitt Builders Ltd

Judges comments: Micheal’s overall industry knowledge, practical skill set and professional attitude combined to deliver a deserving winner for the Central South Island. Honest commitment to delivering quality workmanship for his employer and satisfaction for the client are key drivers in Micheal’s daily challenges. He has shown leadership and courage, and should be commended for his awareness and execution of health and safety.

Micheal presented judges with his work on a site in Merivale, the second job he has run as a foreman.