More apprentices sign up to showcase trade skills

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More apprentices have entered this year’s Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2019 Apprentice of the Year competition, reflecting an increased interest in building apprenticeships.

This year 118 apprentices will go head-to-head to be named the country’s top tradie.

The increased entry numbers reflect how the competition has expanded to welcome more diverse participation.

Raising this year’s entry age to 30 has meant older apprentices are able to take part, with 29 entrants taking advantage of the age change.

Registered Master Builders chief executive David Kelly says for nearly 15 years the Apprentice of the Year competition has been showcasing and rewarding the country’s best apprentices.

He says the industry needs to do more to diversify the sector in order to meet the strong demand for trained talent.

“Highlighting talent in the Apprentice of the Year competition is a fantastic way to show the growth opportunities within the building industry. These apprentices are our industry’s future leaders,” Mr Kelly says.

“We know the construction industry needs at least 25,000 qualified people in the next five years to meet demand. We also know that more apprentices are coming to the trades later in life, so we have updated the competition to reflect this.

“We are pleased to see that two women have entered this year’s competition, including one in the new age range — this is a first for us.

“We hope this will encourage others into apprenticeships, showing this is a rewarding career for men and women.”

The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) supports the Apprentice of the Year competition, and chief executive Warwick Quinn says they are pleased to see the age range extended, encouraging growth in the construction industry.

“Our research shows that only 2.4% of school leavers start a BCITO apprenticeship within their first year of leaving school, so many of our apprentices come to the trades after starting other careers.

“We are happy to welcome them, but also want to show others what a rewarding career this can be so that they choose this industry first.

“We need thousands more apprentices each year, which means attracting and training apprentices from all walks of life,” Mr Quinn says.

Mr Kelly adds that the Apprentice of the Year competition highlights the opportunities and attractiveness of a building career with a wider range of people.

“Our awards also acknowledge the contribution of employers who invest in our future workforce. Only 10% of the building firms in New Zealand are currently taking on apprentices.

“We need more employers to invest their time, skills and energy to train apprentices and meet the growing demand, as we believe that on-the-job training gives apprentices the best opportunity to kick-start their careers.”

Regional practical challenges

The competition heated up on Saturday, June 22, when the 118 entrants competed in a two-hour regional practical challenge at CARTERS stores across New Zealand.

The winners from the regional awards will go through to the national event, where one of them will become the Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2019 Apprentice of the Year.

The regional practical challenges were open to the public to watch, and had great support from local MPs and mayors, including Simon Bridges, Phil Goff and Tim Shadbolt.

About the competition

Each winning regional apprentice will receive a prize pack provided by event sponsors. They will receive a place at an Outward-Bound course (plus travel costs), attendance at the Registered Master Builders House of the Year National Awards Gala Dinner in November, $2000 to spend at CARTERS, and an apprentice membership with the Registered Master Builders Association.

The regional winners will then go on to compete for the national title of Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2019 Apprentice of the Year at the national competition in Auckland in November.

The national winner will receive use of a brand new Nissan Navara for one year provided by CARTERS, a CARTERS Business Tools Grant, and access to a great range of tools.

The Registered Master Builders CARTERS Apprentice of the Year competition is made possible thanks to principal sponsor CARTERS and the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO).

Regional awards event dates:

Auckland and Northern Friday, August 23

Waikato Friday, August 23

Bay of Plenty/Central Plateau Friday, August 16

Central North Island Friday, August 30

Hawke’s Bay/East Coast Friday, September 6

Lower North Island Friday, August 23

Upper South Island Friday, September 6

Central South Island Thursday, August 22

Southern Friday, August 30