NZCB Apprentice Challenge Regional Competition Date:  Saturday 9th April 2022

Apprentice Challenge Final:  Friday 18th – Saturday 19th November 2022

Venue:  Claudelands Arena, Hamilton

Competitors will be tasked to complete a challenging project for a specific end user within the allotted 8.0 hours. Thanks to ITM’s sponsorship, every competitor will receive a prize pack for participating as well as major prizes up for grabs for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place getters!

The Challenge is open to apprentices employed by NZCB builders or enrolled with ITAB. *conditions apply

Have you got what it takes to go all the way?

Entries close Friday 1 April 2022

2021, Marc Palmer – Mid & South Canterbury

Marc is an ITAB Apprentice enrolled with ARA Institute of Canterbury at the Timaru campus.  Marc is aged 21 and is employed by David Bay of Bayfields Limited, Southburn, South Canterbury.

Winners comment

When I entered the regional NZCB Apprentice Challenge Sponsored by ITM I had not the smallest idea I would be the 2021 winner.  But through a fair bit of planning and studying, I was successful and won the national title, something I thought was unreachable.

It all started at the regional Apprentice Challenge, this involved building a classic kiwi picnic table and I was ecstatic when announced as the winner of the Mid & South Canterbury region after I successfully used the whole eight hours to complete my masterpiece.  It was after the presentation at regionals that I made aware of what I had to produce in order to be in contention for the final.  I learnt I had to construct a work portfolio of jobs I had worked on as an apprentice, produce a CV complete with covering letter, conduct a interview with the NZCB Apprentice Challenge judging panel and present a speech.  To top it all off, there was a two hour exam on industry subjects that included the building code, legislation, practical theory and building calculations that are common on site.

When my name was called out as the winner, I was overwhelmed with excitement, shock and a whole lot of disbelief.  This was the end of a challenging 3 days and I had surpassed my own expectations which was unbelievable.  I would like to thank New Zealand Certified Builders and the sponsors in their creation of the event.  It will be something I’ll forever be thanks for.

Tena rawa atu koe, thank you all.


Marc Palmer

Winner – 2021 NZCB Apprentice Challenge

2019, Cedric Folaumoetu’i – Auckland

Cedric is an ITAB apprentice employed by Kiwi Construction Limited in St Johns, Auckland.  Cedric believes an apprentice should be committed, have honesty and show diligence.

Winners comment

I was assigned with the overwhelming task of competing against 19 other regional finalists from all over NZ. All competently skilled, talented and had something unique to bring to the table. This was by no means going to be a ‘walk in the park’ and that the competition really lived up to its name. The poignant words of my Tongan-born parents ‘ai e mata e peni ke iloa’ reverberated constantly in my ear, which loosely translates in English ‘make the ink of the ball-point pen stand out’. The message was simple, study and education! Therefore, I knew that I was going to have to put on my designers hat and approach the whole thing in a different manner and was very lucky to have come away as the victor. – Cedric Folaumoetu’i 

2018, Matt Hatchard – Northland

Matt is an ITAB apprentice and is employed by Fox Build in Russell.  Matt says an apprentice needs a strong work ethic, the ability to focus while listening and must stay humble.  Matt says his greatest strength is his passion for the trade, as he gave up his career in marketing to follow his dream and become a carpenter.

Winners comment

To win your regional competition building a turreted castle playhouse, drawbridge included was hard enough, but it’s just really the beginning… I am humbled and proud that in the midst of this great group of fellow apprentices I managed to pull through and take home to Northland, the Ken Read Memorial Trophy.  At a time when anecdotally builders are struggling to find good (qualified) carpenters to cover the workload, I had been surrounded by our top future carpenters. – Matt Hatchard

2017, Chris McLean – Otago

Chris is an ITAB apprentice employed by Just Build It Ltd in Dunedin.  Chris thinks an apprentice should have a good attitude, be able to do jobs without complaining, be honest when completing their timesheet and have a high standard of workmanship.

Winners comment

I am extremely thankful to be part of the challenge, and to get a glimpse of the growth and development of ITAB and NZCB as a whole. I plan to remain well involved in both groups and maintain my passion of wanting to teach the next generation. To fellow apprentices, remember – high standard gives pride in our work and minimum wage doesn’t mean minimum effort, but maximum effort gives amazing opportunities. – Chris McLean

2016, Clement Richer – Auckland

Clement works for Smith & Sons Epsom Ltd in Auckland. Clement believes an apprentice should be interested in learning every day.

Winners comment

All the finalists were quality apprentices, sharing the same passion for building, with no doubt a bright future in this industry. The competition was tough; no one could have picked a clear favorite. As far as I am concerned, I met ten great men coming from diverse backgrounds in the hopes of becoming the 2016 Apprentice of the Year. They are a credit to the apprenticeship Programme and the industry will thrive with builders of this caliber. – Clement Richer