Entering the competition to see how he measured up against his peers, Tom never expected to win. He says the other national finalists were strong competitors, and the practical component was a real challenge.
“The practical was pretty nerve wracking. It took me a while to be able to block out the time pressures and the public watching, as well as the apprentices on either side of me,” he says.
“There was an excellent group of guys in the final this year, and we just had no idea who was going to take out first place. The competition was a great opportunity to meet other apprentices at similar stages in their careers — we had a lot in common and definitely had a few laughs.”
Tom is employed by Farmbuild in Christchurch, and has become a bit of an inspiration to other apprentices within the company.
“I’m one of four apprentices at Farmbuild, and none of us had ever entered the competition. After seeing how things work this year the other guys are pretty keen to have a go next year.
“My advice to them was ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ — you should jump on every opportunity you’re offered. The competition is a great opportunity to test yourself and learn about your ability to cope under pressure.”
Tom says he is looking to complete his apprenticeship within the next couple of months, and one day he would like to own his own company.
“I’m really happy at Farmbuild. Once I finish my apprenticeship I’d like to take on a project management role within the company,” he says.
“I’d also like to complete a management course or further my study with the $5000 grant I got as part of my prize package. The future is looking pretty exciting!”
Apprentices, employers and young people aspiring to be a part of the construction industry are encouraged to join the Facebook page at
For more information, visit www.apprenticeoftheyear.co.nz.
Owned by the Registered Master Builders Association, the Apprentice of the Year competition is made possible thanks to principal sponsor Carters, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), and supporting sponsor the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).