Apprentices in the Spotlight

We are proud to announce our new Apprentice of the Year following the national competition last weekend.

Thomas O'Brien, 20 from the Northern region, employed by Beacon Construction and trained with BCITO, has taken the out the title of 2020 Master Builders CARTERS Apprentice of the Year.

The competition runner-up went to Matthew Van Boheman, 23 from Bay of Plenty-Central Plateau who is employed by Beck Building, with Mark Lovelock, 27 from Upper South Island, employed by Timbercraft Construction, being awarded third place.  

The competition was a chance to reflect on the importance of a strong pipeline of talent and how we can support our industry. Apprentice of the Year plays a key part in helping us to showcase the opportunities in the sector and the important work of apprentices.

Left to right: Mark Lovelock (3rd), Thomas O'Brien (1st) and Matthew Van Boheman (2nd)

Benefit of taking on apprentices
Currently only 10% of employers across the sector take on apprentices. This needs to change if we are to meet our country’s building needs.

The Government’s Apprenticeship Boost announced earlier this year is an incentive to ensure we have a strong workforce ready to support New Zealand’s economic recovery.

The Trade and Apprenticeships Training Package provides employers with financial support to help pay the cost of an apprentice for the first two years - $12,000 per apprentice in their first 12 months of training, and up to $6,000 in their second 12 months. The aim of this package is to support our sector, and particularly those who have not trained before. If you have considered training an apprentice, now is the time to take the next step. You can find out more here.

Off the back of this announcement, since July there has been a record jump in the number of registered carpentry apprentices, up by 17% compared to last year.

Taking on an apprentice has a real business benefit, especially when they get into their second year of training. The Government boost recognises this and supports you for the first period. Productivity is also seen to increase, with companies who train being able to charge out all employees at higher hourly rates and they reported taking less time to complete projects. BCITO research showed that construction sector companies that take on apprentices charge $0.44 more per hour per person, estimate they work 3% more accurately, and do 2% less hours to complete the same task or project than ones that don’t.*

* BCITO Benefits of an Apprentice Research

The positive return from training is sustained well into the future.  For every $1.00 spent on training a carpenter, a business will benefit by $4.70 in increased profit for up to a 10-year period.  

With an apprentice you build the skills you need for your business. Having oversight into the training of your workers allows you to understand their strengths and areas for development, and teach them according to the standards of your business.  

In the long run, investing in industry training is an investment that can grow your business.

The importance of our future industry leaders
Celebrating the success of this year’s competition winners comes at a time when support of the trades and apprentices has never been more important. With carpentry apprentice numbers at an all-time high, it is promising to see the strong talent coming through this year’s competition. 

A huge congratulations to all of the nine national finalists who proudly represented their respective regions. Each had to compete against more than 100 other apprentices in their local competitions which is a significant achievement.

The national competition took place over two days and involved an interview and practical challenge. The six-hour practical challenge saw each apprentice building mud kitchens which will be donated to nine early learning centre playgrounds around Auckland next week, through the Evolve Education Group.

If you would like to see what the apprentices got up to on the day, take a look at the highlight video.

We asked our sponsors to share why they stand behind apprentices 

Apprentice of the Year would not be possible without our national sponsor family. The loyalty of our sponsors and their investment in the competition and in our industry is fantastic and hugely appreciated. 

“We’re proud to be the long-standing Principal Partner of Master Builders Apprentice of the Year Competition, now in our 16th year sponsoring. CARTERS remain committed to supporting carpentry apprentices as they further their careers in the building and construction industry by taking part in the competition. Celebrating emerging talent in New Zealand's trade industry is a great initiative to be involved with as we continue to look to the future of the building industry.” 


“This year we have been pleased to see such strong support for both apprentices and employers. Apprentice of the Year is an opportunity for the sector to come together to celebrate and recognise our future builders. Now more than ever it is crucial for New Zealand to have a pipeline of skilled and well-trained apprentices. We congratulate all of the national finalists for their outstanding achievements.”

BCITO Chair, Mike King

“We’re thrilled to have had the opportunity to sponsor the Apprentice of the Year competition for a seventh year. The building sector is crucial to New Zealand’s economy, and apprenticeships are an incredibly important part of keeping our building industry running smoothly. It has been wonderful to see these fantastic young people at work throughout the competition, the future of building in NZ is clearly in very good hands.”   

Licensed Building Practitioners Registrar, Duncan Connor

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