Nathan Biggs, 29, has not looked back since winning the Registered Master Builders Apprentice of the Year competition in 2009.
Having just returned from Britain after spending five years holding significant project management roles, Mr Biggs says his BCITO apprenticeship played a huge part in giving him the confidence and ability to get himself to where he is today.
“My apprenticeship and the Apprentice of the Year competition were a turning point for me. The Apprentice of the Year competition was career-changing — it was what got me my first role doing project management,” he says.
“I’d push anyone to enter Apprentice of the Year. In the UK, they really recognise the Kiwi apprentice. The fact that I had won a New Zealand competition was held in incredibly high regard.
“The first person I spoke to when I arrived in the UK took one look at my CV and hired me. It was incredible. When I won the competition, everything just fell into place for me.”
Mr Biggs says building was not his first choice for a career path, but he couldn’t be happier with how everything worked out for him.
“I did a degree in Forestry Management, and after that I had some time to fill in. Somehow I ended up doing some building work, and I just fell in love with it,” he says.
“People don’t realise how many doors can be opened through a building apprenticeship. I’ve gone from labouring, to pricing jobs, to site management and project management. There are so many opportunities.”
Mr Biggs has high hopes for his career over the coming years and in the long term.
“My immediate goal is to keep climbing the career ladder. I’d like to get back into project management work and go from there,” he says.
“In 20 years I want to be overseeing a team of project managers. That’s where I see myself ending up. Whether that’s in New Zealand or the UK, I’m not really sure — that’s the million dollar question at this stage!”
Carpentry apprentices can now enter this year’s Apprentice of the Year competition online at www.apprenticeoftheyear.co.nz, with entries closing on Thursday, June 12.
Apprentices, employers and young people aspiring to be a part of the construction industry are also encouraged to join the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/apprenticeoftheyear.
The Apprentice of the Year competition is made possible thanks to principal sponsor Carters, the Registered Master Builders Association, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), and supporting sponsor the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).