NZCB Apprentice Challenge Regional Competition Date:  Saturday 1st April 2023

Apprentice Challenge Final:  Friday 26th – Saturday 27th May 2023

Venue:  Te Pae – Christchurch Convention Centre, CHRISTCHURCH

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 17 March 2023

2022, Josh Welsh – Whangarei

Josh an ITAB Apprentice enrolled with North Tec Tai Tokerau Wananga – Te Pukenga.  Josh is 27 and is employed by Whangarei Builders Limited in Whangarei.

Winners comment

The NZCB Apprentice Challenge 2022 sponsored by ITM will be ingrained in my memory forever. Although I was extremely nervous the need to stay confident and levelheaded stayed with me the entire weekend. Not only that, but the study and practice that I had put into this point all culminated in me being crowned the NZCB Apprentice Challenge 2022 Winner.

My road to nationals this year was driven by missing out in 2021 by one placing. This year I returned with the drive and willingness to win the regionals & head down to Claudelands Event Centre in Hamilton to compete against some of the country’s best apprentices.

Disrupted by COVID the competition was postponed until November, which didn’t help the nerves. Upon arriving in Hamilton, I was greeted by my fellow competitors as we sat and waited for the impending trade exam, which I was most nervous about as I didn’t quite know what to expect. Up until this moment I has submitted a CV, Work Portfolio and prepared and practiced my presentation.

With the exam out of the way, I could breathe a little, however not for long as Nick Matthews explained the Mitre10 Great Apprentice race which would be taking place bright & early the next morning. It consisted of working in peers & constructing a Rickshaw to race against nine other teams, where I discovered I was paired with Josh Shoebridge from the Tauranga District.

Upon arrival at Claudelands the four hours went by in a flash & ten projects were lined up ready to go. The race wasn’t until 5pm so this gave me a chance to walk around the expo & awe at the multitude of stands. 5pm rolled around and after ten minutes of chaos and only one causality the race was over.

Saturday brought on a very nervous day as I had both my interview with the judges, followed by my speech. I was the last interview & I told myself “Now is your chance to smash it out of the park!”. I found the interview very comfortable and felt I could be myself. This allowed me to speak from the heart & share why I am on this journey. My speech was quickly after which I told myself to remain calm, confident and speak clearly. I personally felt very proud of myself, and with that it was left in the hands of the judges.

We arrived at the Gala, the event was beautifully decorated, and the tensions were high. After dinner & entertainment, we found ourselves front and center stage. Third place was called, then second. At this stage it felt like a moment ‘too good to be true’ so I had assumed that it would never happen to me. When first place was announced, I stood mouth wide open in amazement as all the hard work had paid off. Fighting back tears I delivered my thank you speech and left the stage in what felt like a blur.

I’d like to take the time to thank the New Zealand Certified Builders for giving me the opportunity to showcase my skills & intentions for the future, and the sponsors for making this a truly unforgettable weekend. I am thankful to have met some amazing people & made lifelong friends.

To all the other apprentices, you did a fantastic job & the future of the industry is in great hands.

Kia Ora Koutou Katoa


Joshua Welsh

2022 NZCB Apprentice Challenge, Sponsored by ITM, Winner.

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