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2009 Apprentice of the Year

Winning apprentices: Third place getter Justin Clark (left), winner Nathan Biggs (centre) and runner-up Shayne Dickinson (right). Hawkes Bay carpentry apprentice Nathan Biggs is the 2009 Apprentice of the Year, coming out on top of the 10 regional finalists in the annual competition sponsored by the Department.

Now in its sixth year, the competition attracted a record 161 entries. The Department’s Chief Executive Katrina Bach spoke at the evening awards ceremony on 22 October, which was a special celebration for the apprentices, their partners and families.

Nathan is employed by Mackersey Construction in Havelock North, a firm which has been trading since 1948. He showed a passion for building that has seen him take on more responsibility than most apprentices, according to national judge Paul Mitchell from the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO).

‘Nathan’s ability means he has managed staff and subcontractors, and has taken on the position of health and safety representative in his workplace, managing its ACC partnership programme.

‘Nathan has proudly followed his father’s footsteps into building and prides himself on the finished product. This is a young man with a very bright future in the industry.’

Shayne Dickinson, 20, of Nelson, was second and Hamilton’s Justin Clark, 21, took out third place.

Judging at 10 regional events had taken place throughout September and early October.

The regional winners then gathered in Wellington to compete for the national title. This included a tough interview with four expert carpenters, including the Department’s national judge Mark Scully. Regulatory knowledge was included in the judging criteria.

Mark Scully says he found it difficult to select a winner, as all the finalists were highly talented, experienced and knowledgeable. After the judging, the apprentices were treated to a morning tea at Parliament hosted by Minister for Building and Construction, Hon Maurice Williamson.

The competition is a joint initiative by Carters, the Registered Master Builders Federation, the BCITO and the Department. It is open to carpentry apprentices under 26 years of age who have completed at least two years of their National Certificate in Carpentry, and is proving an excellent way to support the development of better skills, standards and professional behaviour across the sector.

2009 Apprentice of the Year finalists, with Katrina Bach and Hon Maurice Williamson.