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Business owner full of praise for his NorthTec apprentice

Business owner full of praise for his NorthTec apprentice

Amongst those competing at the regional iTaB Apprentice Challenge was Brendon Williams, who recently gained employment and an apprenticeship with Whangarei and Tutukaka-based Campbell Lee Construction Ltd.

Although the regional competition was won by Michael Ferris (David Millar Builders Ltd) who went on to contest the National final over the weekend in Wellington, Brendon’s employer, Campbell Lee, could not have been happier with the effort his apprentice put forward in the regional competition.

Brendon has been building houses in and around Whangarei for Lee since September 2011. He is the first employee taken on by Campbell after he started up a building business in Northland in 2008. That was at a time when the recession was beginning to bite. In retrospect, Campbell says it probably was not the best time to be starting a business, but that he had managed to keep the business going along nicely by himself during this unsettling period.

It was last year, when activity in the construction/building industry in Northland gradually began to pick up that Campbell decided to employ Brendon, who was studying towards his National Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4).

Campbell said it was important that he take on someone who had completed a Pre-trade course as he did not have to teach them the fundamentals of construction.

With Brendon, Campbell says he has found his ‘right-hand man.’ He has sound all-round knowledge, works safely with the machinery, knows his tools well, and can work on projects on his own that Campbell says is a credit to his tutors at NorthTec, (John Pratt, Mark Pearson and Robin Storey), who had taught him the essentials well.

He described Brendon as a quality practitioner, who has a good work ethic and the right attitude for the job.

Campbell, who has been in the building industry in New Zealand and overseas for 15 years, said it was good that he could invest in Brendon just as he had been invested in when completing his Pre-trade carpentry course.

Campbell, who is a member of the Certified Builders Association of New Zealand, said he encouraged Brendon to take part in the recent iTaB Apprentice Challenge as it was good for his development.

“He needs to challenge himself otherwise he cannot discover what areas he can make improvements in. He believed this was also good for the future of the local building industry and urges other firms to look at having their apprentices participate in the iTaB Apprentice Challenge at NorthTec next year.

While Brendon found building the play house during the iTaB Apprentice Challenge difficult with lots of different technical aspects to it, he was happy to test out his capabilities in front of his family and boss.

Along with Brendon Williams and Michael Ferris, the other apprentices to take part in the regional iTaB Apprentice Challenge were Brodie Crum of Matt Crumm Builders and Rick Schuler who works for Robin Watson.

At the regional contest, each apprentice had to build a 1.5m x 1.2m children’s play house using plywood. Design features such as the scalloping detail, round windows and 25 degree pitch gable roof provided quite the challenge.

The finished play houses have been donated to four local charities that included Project Promise, Cancer Kids, The Salvation Army and Women’s Refuge.

This year’s regional event was sponsored by and received support from local and national sponsors including: ITM Whangarei, Place Makers Whangarei, NorthTec, ITM, deWalt, Gib, iTaB and the AST Trust.

Even though it was a push for Brendon to finish the play house in the time allowed during the challenge – Campbell said he is only at the start of the apprenticeship and had done really well.

Brendon pointed out that he was appreciative of the fact that Campbell has taken him on as an apprentice, and therefore, is eager to improve his skills in his chosen career whenever he gets the chance.


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