Northern region’s top building apprentice announced

25 September 2020

Building apprentice Thomas O’Brien has been named the Northern Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2020 Apprentice of the Year. The 20-year-old was trained through BCITO and is employed by Beacon Construction. 

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. 

Thomas impressed all three judges from the start, with him excelling across all four of the judging criteria. From project submission to the site visit, Thomas proved himself to be both a calm, practical and knowledgeable apprentice. 

“Thomas' industry expertise, professionalism, and commitment to high quality of workmanship were on clear display not only on the worksite but also in his hobbies outside of work.” They said. “All of this proved to us judges that Thomas is a terrific apprentice who is going to be an asset to our industry in the years to come.”

“He has done himself, his employer, and his family proud. We wish him all the very best for the future.”

Second place in the regional competition was awarded to 20-year-old Kees Kramer, who was trained by BCITO and is employed by Marty Hyland Building Contractors 2006 LTD. 

“Kees was an incredibly strong applicant.” They said. “His written submission was impressive, as was his interview. However, it was during the site visit that Kees truly excelled. He came off highly confident and proved to all three judges that he was and a very well-rounded apprentice.”

Third place was awarded to 27-year-old Brendan Regan, who was trained by BCITO and is employed by Twin Solutions Ltd.

The judges said: “Brendan has shown himself to be an apprentice who likes to get involved in all aspects of the build. His attitude and continued growth is clearly an asset to himself and his employer, which should see him go far in the industry.”

Thomas 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 - Thomas O’Brien employed by Beacon Construction

2nd - Kees Kramer employed by Marty Hyland Building Contractors 2006 LTD

3rd - Brendan Regan employed by Twin Solutions 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