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Top building apprentice in the Central South Island announced

Acumen Republic

Christchurch carpentry apprentice Joshua Gardner has been named the Central South Island Region Registered Master Builders Carters 2012 Apprentice of the Year.

The 23 year old, employed by A & A Coombs Builders Ltd in Christchurch and trained by the BCITO, impressed competition judges who say Joshua is a true professional well above his years.

"Joshua is an individual full of energy who is hungry to learn and develop into a leading tradesperson within the building industry. Joshua’s pursuit for higher learning is refreshing. He has a mature attitude, a dedication to learning new building processes, and an understanding of legislative health and safety requirements," they say.

"We must also congratulate Joshua’s employer, Andrew Coombs, for the effort he and his business have put in to develop Joshua into the outstanding apprentice carpenter he is today."

As part of the entry process, each apprentice was asked to submit the project that they were most proud of. Joshua presented judges with his work on the Archer Retirement Village, as well as his voluntary work on a family home in Tonga which included strengthening, adding a new roof and fitting a kitchen.

"The methods used on the construction in Tonga were basic, but sound and able to withstand time," Joshua says. "But it wasn’t the construction that bought us the satisfaction; it was the overwhelming gratitude and thankfulness from the family, their friends and neighbours. That’s what makes me a proud builder, proud of what I do," Joshua says.

"It shows the influence and importance of building and construction in a community and society, and the value our trade brings."

Joshua’s employer, Andrew Coombs of A & A Coombs Builders Ltd, says Joshua has some important characteristics that bode well for his future.

"He aims for excellence in his work, he has extremely good manners, is honest and reliable, knows how to respect authority and treats others with genuine respect," Mr Coombs says.

Joshua was awarded his choice of either a study grant to the value of $2,000, or $2,000 to spend at Carters, as well as an Outward Bound Leadership Programme valued at over $3,600, a Stanley hand tool package and other prizes, as well as the coveted title of Central South Island Region Registered Master Builders Carters 2012 Apprentice of the Year.

He will now go on to compete against the eight other regional winners at the national Apprentice of the Year competition in Wellington on October 25 and 26.

Second place in the competition went to Jack Hope, 21, of Hoon Hay, employed by Design + Build in Christchurch, while third place went to Nathan Bell, 21, of Ilam, employed by Darcy & Co Builders in Oxford.

RMBF Chief Executive Warwick Quinn says it is pleasing to have another group of fantastic carpentry apprentices across the country standing up and putting themselves out there to be judged against their peers in the Apprentice of the Year competition.

"These young folk demonstrate the excellent skills and high level of professionalism coming through New Zealand’s construction sector. It is also great that our builders are supporting those apprentices that want to get involved and are clearly proud of their significant contribution to the future of our industry," Mr Quinn says.

Paul Bull, Chief Executive of Carters, says the Apprentice of the Year competition is in line with Carters’ desire to recognise professionalism within the construction sector.

"The building industry has entered a new era in terms of compliance, and the apprentices coming through the industry will be operating in an environment of increased professionalism," Mr Bull says.

"It is important for Carters to offer our customers ways in which to keep up to speed and develop their skills, and supporting Apprentice of the Year is one of the ways we can help."

The awards evening, held at The Chateau on the Park on Wednesday, 19 September, was well attended with guests including apprentices’ family, friends, colleagues and industry representatives.

The Central South Island Region includes Kaikoura and Christchurch to Ashburton and Southern Canterbury, and west to Greymouth and Hokitika.

For further information, visit www.apprenticeoftheyear.co.nz. Apprentices, employers and those young people aspiring to be a part of the construction industry are also encouraged to join up to the Facebook page: www.facebook.com/apprenticeoftheyear.