Apprentice of the Year: An insider view

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The Registered Master Builders Carters 2015 Apprentice of the Year competition is soon to commence. With entries opening in April, regional judge Noel Stafford offers potential competitors an insider view on what the judges are looking for.

Last year, the annual competition saw more than 130 apprentices take part in competing for the nationally-renowned title of the Apprentice of the Year. The hotly contested title stands the apprentice and their employer in good stead with their peers, as well as gaining significant recognition in the public eye.

Mr Stafford, from the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), is one of three judges from the Southern region competition.

The judging panel also consists of representatives from Carters and Registered Master Builders, all of whom are experienced and knowledgeable professionals from within the industry, and who have an eye for detail. But what exactly do they look for in a winning apprentice?

“We’re looking for an apprentice that presents themselves well, has good communication skills, and has pride in their work,” Mr Stafford says. “They need to have good knowledge of the building trade, regulations and products.

“With entries submitted online these days, it’s also important for the apprentices to be familiar with technology and have a good level of knowledge about IT,” he says.

As part of the entry to Apprentice of the Year, the judges put the apprentices through their paces, including a pre-assessment, an interview and also a site inspection to view the entrant’s practical skills.

“We have a look at apprentices’ tool kits, ensuring that they’re well maintained. We also assess the current project the apprentice is working on, and expect them to have a good level of knowledge regarding this.

“Finally, we also take into account their worksite, checking that it’s tidy and up to Health and Safety Standards,” he says.

“We like to talk to their peers at the worksite. It’s a good way to see how they work within a team environment and see how independent they can be.

“We also like to speak with the site foreman to hear their thoughts on how the apprentice is doing, and how they cope with different working situations.”

The judges have seen a high standard of work year after year, and will not be expecting anything less this time around.

“Winning apprentices must tick all the boxes. They need to have pride in their work, a good skill set, be well respected and confident,” Mr Stafford says.

Registered Master Builders chief executive David Kelly was thrilled to see more than 130 people stepping up to compete.

“All the apprentices that took part in the competition did themselves proud, especially our national finalists, proving our industry is in good stead with an impressive bunch of future leaders,” he says.

Mr Stafford wishes all contestants the best of luck this year, and passes on a few words of wisdom.

“My advice to contestants this year is to be prepared and back yourself. Remember that all the competitors are in the same boat as you, so try not to get too nervous.”

The Registered Master Builders 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).