Regional winner of the Industry Training Association Building (ITaB) Apprentice Challenge Ben Wilson is to contest the national title at the Certified Builders Association of New Zealand’s annual conference next month.
Last year’s New Zealand title winner for ITaB Apprentice of the Year was EIT carpentry student Paul McDowall, and EIT’s carpentry apprenticeship programme coordinator Shane Sigglekow is hoping Hawke’s Bay can pull off the top placing yet again.
Ben, who works for Simon Moody of SKM Builders in Napier, was one of four competing in the regional ‘build-off’, staged at the new Napier Tumu ITM. The apprentices were each given eight hours to construct a playhouse using building materials provided by the store, which opened recently in Ahuriri.
The competition for building/carpentry apprentices on EIT’s apprenticeship programme was one of eight heats being held in regions throughout New Zealand.
Sam Talbot, who is apprenticed to Paul Boaler of Havelock North, was runner-up, while Chris Sanson (Homeworx, Napier) narrowly edged out Jason Johnston (Dunnett Builders, Napier) for third place.
Shane says Napier store manager Jamie Webster “pulled out all the stops” in promoting the challenge and helping make it a really professionally run event.
Dewalt provided top-of-the-line, tradesman-quality power tools used to build the playhouses which are to be gifted to early childcare education centres.
Radio station The Rock also supported the event, providing the sound system, advertising and a sausage sizzle for the many people who turned out to watch the apprentices’ constructions taking shape.
ITaB in partnership with Certified Builders established the Apprentice of the Year competition three years ago to highlight and recognise the high quality of building apprenticeships coming out of New Zealand institutes of technology and polytechs .
“EIT is proud to be part of the shift towards getting carpentry apprentices back into the institutes of technology for face-to-face learning,” says EIT carpentry apprenticeship programme coordinator Shane Sigglekow.
Ben will now work up a portfolio of work for the national event. He will also be required to deliver a speech to delegates attending the 18-19 May conference at Wellington’s Te Papa museum and undergo judging in panel interviews.