Central North Island & Hawke's Bay East Coast region’s top building apprentice announced

28 September 2020

Building apprentice Ben Roberts has been named the Central North Island & Hawke’s Bay East Coast Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2020 Apprentice of the Year. The 20-year-old from Palmerston North was trained through BCITO and is employed by Mike Campbell Construction Ltd. 

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 at an awards evening on Friday 25 September at the Palmerston North Conference Centre.

Ben came across as the perfect example of what every judge would like apprentice entrants to be – positive, enthusiastic, and welcoming. 

“Ben excelled in all areas of the competition. He is articulate, knowledgeable, and overall an excellent tradesman. He showed a great range of knowledge in his submission and site visit. He took us around a residential build pointing out details with clear pride. Yet he remained humble and frequently acknowledged how lucky he was to work on such an exquisite, unique build.”

“His explanation of the construction of the build was vast and detailed. It ended up being a real learning experience for the judges.”

Second place in the regional competition was awarded to 23-year-old Patrick Smither from Palmerston North, who was trained by BCITO and is employed by Turbine Residential 2014 Ltd. 

“Patrick is a conscientious and thorough apprentice.” Said the judges. “He walked us around the different stages of the community housing build he had been working on over the past two years. During this he confidently pointed and discussed out specific details with confidence and a strong belief in the project.”

Third place was awarded to 27-year-old Jack Morris from Whanganui, who was trained by BCITO and is employed by M.D. Morris and Son Builders.

“Jack presented himself well, being well-groomed, open, and demonstrating extensive knowledge of the building industry as a whole. During questions on his future, he revealed a humble but proud intention to carry on the family business.”

“His project presented some challenges, which he explained his solutions for effectively. On the site visit, Jack demonstrated a conscientiousness and thorough understanding of the work he was undertaking. He reflected on the positive aspects of teamwork, pushing himself to do well 

Ben 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 - Ben Roberts 

2nd - Patrick Smither 

3rd - Jack Morris   

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 www.apprenticeoftheyear.co.nz.