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Hawke’s Bay carpentry apprentice named New Zealand’s best

Media Release: 11 October 2013

Hawke’s Bay carpentry apprentice named New Zealand’s best

Hawke’s Bay carpentry apprentice William Harkness has been named the Registered Master Builders Carters 2013 Apprentice of the Year, following a gruelling six hour practical test in Auckland which saw nine national finalists each building a children’s playhouse for charity.

Jonathan Yorke, 22, from Palmerston North, employed by Arnott &Arnott in Bulls and trained through the BCITO, was placed second in the competition, while Andrew Higgins, 24, employed by Dusty Builders Ltd in Nelson and trained through ITAB, was third.

William Harkness, 22, from Redmond Builders & Construction and trained through the BCITO, completed a children’s playhouse which will now be gifted to ChoiceKidsCARES. He has taken home over $20,000 worth of prizes including an Apple iPad, a Carters Business Tools Grant towards furthering his career valued at $5,000, a tool and safety gear pack worth $1,000 and the use of a Ford Ranger XLT vehicle for the duration of his reign as Apprentice of the Year.

Competition judges say, “William has proven himself as a real all-rounder, which is exactly what Apprentice of the Year is all about.”

“He came across in his interview as a really good guy. He’s confident and showed great knowledge of his project, topping that off with a great performance in the practical judging component.

“A good balance of speed and quality workmanship made Bill a worthy winner of this year’s competition.”

The nine finalists from up and down the country were put through their paces over the two days of the national competition, each undergoing a 45-minute interview with the judging panel, followed by the practical judging component in front of friends, family and the public.

The gala dinner awards evening, held at The Cloud in Auckland, was well attended by the apprentices and their families, Minister for Building and Construction Maurice Williamson and key representatives from the building and construction industry, and MC, comedian Paul Ego.

Registered Master Builders Chief Executive Warwick Quinn says he is thrilled to see young people continually stepping up to take part in the Apprentice of the Year competition.

“It is a pleasure to support the 100 carpentry apprentices who have taken part in the competition this year, and the nine people in particular who have done themselves proud by making it through to the national competition, proving themselves as our construction industry’s future leaders.

“We wish them all the best for their future in the industry, and look forward to seeing what they have to offer,” he says.

Carters Chief Executive Paul Bull congratulates the nine apprentices who have won their regional competitions and progressed through to the national finals.

“The employers must also be commended for the role they play in the training and development of their apprentices.

“Carters is focused on supporting the trade and we hope our involvement in the competition gives the participants in Apprentice of the Year a kick start in the right direction for the benefit of New Zealand’s construction industry.”

For more information about the competition, please visit, or for up to date news, visit

The Apprentice of the Year competition is made possible thanks to principal sponsor Carters, the Registered Master Builders Federation, the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO), and supporting sponsor the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

National Finalists: Registered Master Builders Carters 2013 Apprentice of the Year

Andrew Higgins from Nelson, employed by Dusty Builders Ltd and trained through the NMIT. Playhouse donated to Vibe.

Ben Mitchell from Wellington, employed by Scotty’s Construction 2002 Ltd and trained through the BCITO. Playhouse donated to Fountain of Knowledge Trust.

Eugene Sparnon from Kumeu, employed by Architectural Edge Ltd and trained through the BCITO. Playhouse donated to Motutapu Outdoor Education Trust.

Jonathan Yorke from Palmerston North, employed by Arnott & Arnott and trained through the BCITO. Playhouse donated to Wilson Home Trust.

Kate Ross from Herne Bay, employed by CG Low Building Ltd and trained through the BCITO. Playhouse donated to Kidz Social Services Charitable Trust.

Mark Bell from Hamilton, employed by Lobell Construction and trained through the BCITO. Playhouse donated to Anglican Trust for Women and Children.

Micheal Rochford from Christchurch, employed by DJ Hewitt Builders Ltd and trained through the BCITO. Playhouse donated to Greenlane and National Women’s Hospital Creche Incorporated.

Peter O’Sullivan from Dunedin, employed by Lund Construction and trained through the BCITO. Playhouse donated to Grandparents Raising Grandchildren NZ.

William Harkness from Havelock North, employed by Redmond Builders and Construction and trained through the BCITO. Playhouse donated to ChoiceKidsCARES.


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