Apprentice entries down but industry booming

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SOUTHLAND entries in the Master Builders Apprentice of the Year awards are down on previous years with just four apprentices entering the regional challenge.

Registered Master Builders (RMB) national president Kerry Archer said while the lower entry numbers were disappointing, they were indicative of how busy the industry was with very little time available to complete the required entry criteria.

But he was encouraged by the increased number of older adults shifting careers to take on apprenticeships within the industry.

“Traditionally, they make better apprentices because they have gone away and tried something then decided on a career path they would like. They’ve had a bit of life experience. It’s always hard for young guys coming straight out of school at 18 trying to figure out what they want.”

RMB chief executive David Kelly said the competition had opened up entries to all ages groups for the first time.

“We have seen a considerable rise in people joining the trades as their second or even third careers. This reflects the huge range of opportunities that our sector provides for workers across a diverse range of ages.”

The event, which tests several aspects of a well-rounded apprentice, can also prove valuable for future employment opportunities.

It can also give apprentices a head start with business skills, as it tests their project management, business and presentation skills as well as practical skills.

The regional events will be held in Auckland, Northern, Central South Island, Bay of Plenty/Central Plateau, Upper South Island, Waikato, Lower North Island, East Coast/Hawke’s Bay, Central North Island and Southern.

Apprentices self-referred to the event. But employers provided comments on the entrants’ performance.

Each regional event was judged in a two-phase process; between the written application and practical challenge was an interview and site visit.

Regional entries will compete on June 11 for the opportunity to represent their region at the national finals with winners announced between August and September and the national final judged in November.

Judges from RMB, the Building & Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) and Carters will decide the regional winners.

Regional winners will receive a specially designed Outward Bound course, tools from the competition’s sponsor, a $2000 account credit at Carters and tickets, travel and accommodation to the National House of the Year Gala Dinner in Auckland.

The national winner will receive the use of a new ute for a year, and a $5000 career advancement grant.

Southland apprentice Samuel Morris, of McFarlane Building Wanaka, won last year’s regional event and went on to compete against nine other apprentices at the national final.

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