Friday, April 26, 2024

Howick’s Nevines named NZ’s top apprentice

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Howick builder Jack Nevines has been crowned the country’s best apprentice.

Jack Nevines from Golflands has won the national 2023 Registered Master Builders Apprentice of the Year award.

The national winners were announced at last night’s National Awards Gala dinner in Auckland.

Eight carpentry apprentices from across New Zealand made their way to Auckland on Thursday to compete in the final stages of the national competition. Across a two-day event, starting at Conztruct Auckland North, the apprentices were challenged with a six-hour practical skills test and a 45-minute interview with the national judging panel.

For the practical component, the apprentices crafted a work bench which will be donated to early learning centres through Evolve Education Group. The project was highly technical, leaving no room for error.

Nevines was announced as the well-deserved winner at the National Awards Gala. He is employed by multiple-awards winner Faulkner Construction of Howick and completed his training through BCITO, a business division of Te Pūkenga.

The top eight finalists for 2023. Jack Nevines is on the left

Judges were most impressed by Nevines’ natural ability to lead, and the faultless management of his project, which he spoke to during his interview.

“Jack’s extensive knowledge of the building code, methodology, and building products stood out and showed his great interest and understanding of the industry. In the final stages of the competition, his skills all came together to demonstrate his top-class craftsmanship,” said the judging panel.

In the 20 years since the first Apprentice of the Year competition, the industry has more than doubled in size. Now the fifth biggest sector in New Zealand, Stats NZ reports there has been a 135 per cent increase in jobs in the construction industry in the last two decades, this growth has also coincided with increased diversity.

Registered Master Builders National president Johnny Calley said the perception towards building and construction as a career has positively changed, with BCITO, Te Pūkenga reporting that more than 6 per cent of the sector is now made up of women, alongside wider awareness of the benefits of a career in the trades.

This is reflected in this year’s competition, with Jess Nielsen taking out third place, making her the first woman to place in the national competition, since its establishment in 2003.

“Not only are we seeing an increase of more female building apprentices, but many people now are entering the trade as a second or third career choice. A better understanding of the sector has led to the transition away from a traditional blue-collar workforce to a widely-respected industry that is attractive to a diverse range of people,” said Calley.

Runner-up Issac Posthuma, left, winner Jack Nevines with third placed Jess Nielsen.

Calley reflected on how the sector has evolved in the last two decades, highlighting the impact that changes in regulations and the role of specialised sub-contractors has had on how the industry now builds.

“When I started my career, builders would do everything from laying concrete to installing insulation and roofing iron,” said Calley.

“In today’s environment, those types of processes are carried out by specialised sub-contractors which has created efficiencies.

“Another transformation is how the industry is regulated. When I started, anyone could pick up a hammer and call themselves a builder, but with the introduction of the Licensed Building Practitioners scheme you now need to meet the certification standards to sign off restricted building works. This has lifted the quality of our builds and the workforce.”

Over the last two decades, the competition has celebrated and connected apprentices and their employers.

“Recognising excellence is extremely important. From my experience, those apprentices who enter mentoring programmes and competitions like Registered Master Builders Carters Apprentice of the Year, go on to become industry leaders,” said Calley.

“It is a natural progression of testing their ability whilst learning key skill sets that set them apart.

“I want to congratulate all of those who have had the courage to enter the competition in the last 20 years, and of course, this year’s winners.”

Runner-up was Isaac Posthuma from the Northern region, with Jess Nielsen from the Waikato taking out third place.

“Both of these apprentices were very strong contenders. Isaac is an excellent craftsman, and at the young age of 20, he has a bright and fulfilling career in construction ahead of him,” said competition judges.

“Jess is the first ever female apprentice to place in the national competition. She is a highly impressive young person with excellent building knowledge. Jess also showcased a great level of skill in the national practical competition where she scored very highly.”

The gala awards for the national competition signalled the end of the competition, and the finalists, employers, family, and friends came together to celebrate their success and hard work throughout the competition.

Committed to standing behind all apprentices as they start their careers, Carters chief executive Mike Guy is impressed with the talent the competition brings together year-on-year.

“Carters are proud to partner with the Apprentice of the Year competition. It’s great to be able to watch these talented apprentices giving it their all in the competition and growing from the experience,” Guy said.

“We’re committed to supporting apprentices from across the country as they build their careers in the construction industry. Being involved in the competition is a great way to celebrate emerging talent and our future industry leaders.”

Before qualifying for the national competition, each of the top eight competed against other apprentices in their region. This involved a written project submission, a two-hour regional practical challenge, an interview, and site visit.

JUDGES COMMENTS

1st Place: Jack Nevines, Auckland Region  

Jack performed exceptionally well across all three categories of the competition, impressing the judges at every stage.

Jack showed a natural ability to lead, and the management of his project was faultless. Jack’s extensive knowledge of the building code, methodology, and building products stood out and showed his great interest and understanding of the industry.

In the final stages of the competition, his skills all came together to demonstrate his top-class craftsmanship. Jack should be extremely proud of this result and the impressive apprentice that he has proved to be.

2nd Place: Isaac Posthuma, Northern Region

Isaac’s performance in the practical competition was most impressive, surpassing any performance witnessed by the judges in the practical component of the competition to date. Any bystander at the practical would agree with this statement.

Isaac is an excellent craftsman, and at the young age of 20, he has a bright and fulfilling career in construction ahead of him. With very few points between this year’s winners, Isaac should be especially proud of himself. Congratulations.

3rd Place: Jess Nielsen, Waikato Region

Jessica is a highly impressive young person. Her building knowledge shone through in her interview, and she also showcased a great level of skill in the National practical competition where she scored very highly.

During her interview, it was clear that Jessica has a very in-depth understanding of her project, and she could speak confidently about the entire build process. Well done, Jessica, you have a very bright future ahead of you.

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