Second-time Apprentice of the Year entrant walks away with national award

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Perseverance paid off for New Plymouth’s Corbin Mills, when he was awarded second place at the Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2018 Apprentice of the Year competition.

Corbin, who is employed by B D Hill Building Ltd, and trained through the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), says he was surprised to place second in the competition.

“I definitely wasn’t expecting it. I entered just to challenge myself, see where I stood against other people in my position, and just to enjoy the experience. It was awesome to come away with something at the end of it,” he says.

“I made it through to the regional finals in 2017, and one of the judges said I should give it another go the following year, so I did. I definitely felt a lot more confident in my work the second time around, and knew I had nothing to lose.”

Corbin says getting to spend time with the other competitors was a highlight of the competition.

“There are heaps of benefits from being in the competition. Getting to know all the other apprentices was one of them. We got to know each other really well and we still keep in touch.

“Along with that, meeting others in the industry and getting to attend the House of the Year awards gala dinner was great.”

Corbin says the most challenging part of the competition was the practical challenge in Auckland. The finalists were tasked with building a complex garden station that put their skills to the test.

“The practical challenge was definitely difficult. The time pressure and the atmosphere is not something we’re used to as builders, and it’s not something you can really prepare for.”

Judges said Corbin excelled throughout the competition, and showed a good understanding of the building process.

“Corbin had an excellent written submission and interview, and demonstrated his great communication skills,” they said.

“We were very impressed with his ability to develop meaningful customer relationships. His project was a very challenging one, and he definitely understood his client and their needs.

“Corbin has a bright future ahead of him, and we look forward to seeing how his career progresses.”

Corbin has always had an interest in working with his hands and being in the outdoors from a young age, and first gave building a go at school.

“I tried my hand at building in the Gateway Programme at high school for two years and really enjoyed it.

“I love building and I can’t see myself doing anything else. Eventually I would like to pursue other areas of the industry and teach others the trade skills.”

Corbin says this award is great for getting your name out there, and encourages others to apply as you have nothing to lose.

“It’s nice to be recognised for the hard work you’ve done, and is a great addition to the CV. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain from it.

“If you’re lucky enough to get through to the finals, it’s a great experience, and the prizes are awesome. More people should be putting their name down for it!”

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).