A Bay of Plenty building apprentice has given an outstanding performance at this years Registered Master Builders CARTERS 2017 Apprentice of the Year.
Ten national finalists took to their tools for a six-hour practical challenge where they were tasked with building ‘puppy palaces' which will be donated to the SPCA.
The two-day national competition saw each of the ten finalists undergo a 45-minute individual interview with the judging panel.
This was followed by the challenging practical component, the puppy palace build, which took place in front of an audience of family, friends and the general public at the ASB Showgrounds.
Tauranga builder Matthew Abbot was one of the many who stepped up to the challenge.
“The nerves were definitely rattling a bit,” he says. “Once I settled into it I was fine, but definitely with more than 150 people it was quite a different experience.
“We built a puppy palace which we donated to the Tauranga SPCA. It had a range of different difficulties, from marking out the staircases, working out your heights, circles, cutting ovals and different shapes. It had a staircase a cot and a dog bowl.
“Last Thursday afternoon we went through a briefing and they gave you an hour to get your head around what you're doing and make a start then on Friday morning we started at 7.30am and worked until 1.30pm, so you get six hours.
“I did majority of the work but whenever I needed a hand lifting things or moving them around I could call for assistance.
Ex-All Black Chris Jack was the ambassador for the event
“He was walking around giving us a hand,” says Matt. “After he finished playing for the All Blacks he actually finished his own building apprenticeship. It was quite good to rub shoulders with him.
“I met ten awesome people in this competition, it's awesome to get to rub shoulders with some pretty high up people in the industry.”
Matthew enters the competition after taking out a regional title.
“I was involved in the regional procedure last year and also this year, last year not placing and this year I placed first in regionals which allowed me to go to nationals.
“I play for Greerton Marist so I've been involved in a raft of sporting events where judges have been critiquing me but nothing quite of this magnitude.
“When the applications open your boss tells you to give it a go, the onus is on you to log in online and create your own account.
“You have to hand in your written submission and I handed in a 15 page submission so quite a bit of time went into getting that all right.”
The regional interview includes an interview, to indicate knowledge of the industry, alongside an hour-long site visit, says Matt.
“It doesn't matter where you are in your apprenticeship it just shows what you know about your site and your confidence in that.
“I was lucky enough to take out the Bay of Plenty Central Plateau award as best apprentice of the region.”
After his apprenticeship training under BCITO tutors Brendon Honey and Tim Buxton, Matt has secured employment with Calley Homes.
“I've been working here for nearly 4 years on the dot, I'm pretty well finished my apprenticeship and I have my meeting with my tutor this week where he will hopefully sign me off.
“This competition has showed me that you can start off knowing nothing in the industry, but four years later it's amazing what you can accomplish.”