Auckland region’s top building apprentice announced

25 September 2020

Building apprentice Ken Rowe has been named the Auckland Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2020 Apprentice of the Year. The 27-year-old from Auckland was trained through BCITO and is employed by Neal Mckendrick Builders. 

The apprentices were judged on a two-hour practical challenge – where they built a tool box, and their initial entry submission. The top 10 in the region progressed to an interview with the judging panel, which was followed by an onsite visit where contestants discussed their project.

The results were announced differently this year. Due to the current COVID restrictions in Auckland, we streamed the announcements live on our social media platforms on Friday 25 September. You can check it out on our Facebook and Instagram Page. 

“It was fantastic to see Ken return this year after a solid result in 2019’s competition.” Said one of the judges.

“Over the past year it is clear that Ken has continued to grow and improve. Again, this year he delivered a fantastic submission which demonstrated a great level of knowledge and understanding.”

“Right away it was clear we were going to be looking at a strong candidate this year. A cool and calm character on site, Ken was more than capable of walking us through every step of the build process.”

“He is a very capable builder, one who is certainly destined to go on to bigger and better things. Well done Ken.”

Second place in the regional competition was awarded to 22-year-old Ben McKee from Auckland, who was trained by BCITO and is employed by Faulkner Construction LTD. 

“Ben made an immediate impact in his interview. After submitting a very strong submission, Ben brought it to life in person. His communication skills, passion and detailed knowledge was clear to see from the start.” The judges said.

“During the site visit, things only improved further, with him showing a great level of understanding on the job. This was combined with some very positive feedback from the homeowner herself. It’s clear Ben is exactly what this competition is looking for. He did an exceptional job overall.”

Third place was awarded to 22-year-old Joshua Smith from Auckland, who was trained by BCITO and is employed by Faulkner Construction LTD.

The judges said: “Josh followed up a very strong written submission with a fantastic interview.” 
“Josh was able to impress across all aspects of the interview with his professional attitude and detailed knowledge of the industry. On site Josh continued to display exceptional knowledge with a very detailed walkthrough. Josh is a fantastic entrant who should be incredibly proud of how well he has performed in the competition.”

Ken will now go on to compete against the winners from the other eight regions at the national CARTERS Apprentice of the Year 2020 competition in Auckland this November.

1st - Ken Rowe employed by Neal Mckendrick Builders

2nd - Ben McKee employed by Faulkner Construction LTD

3rd - Joshua Smith employed by Faulkner Construction LTD

About the Registered Master Builders CARTERS Apprentice of the Year 2020:
Each regional winner receives a prize pack that includes $2,000 to spend at CARTERS, a place at an Outward-Bound course (plus travel costs), and an apprentice membership with Registered Master Builders Association. 

For the national competition, each finalist will undergo a 45-minute interview with the national judging panel. They will then compete in a practical carpentry challenge, held on 7 November in Auckland at the ASB Showgrounds. The event is open to the public. 

The winner of the Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2020 Apprentice of the Year will be announced at an awards dinner on 7 November. 

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

For more information, visit