Joshua Welsh has been named as New Zealand’s top carpentry apprentice

Whangarei’s Joshua Welsh (27) has won the coveted title of New Zealand’s top apprentice at the NZ Certified Builders (NZCB) Apprentice Challenge sponsored by ITM. Petros Vrahasotakis (27) from Wellington won second place, and Joshua Shoebridge (23) from Tauranga came in third.


The Apprentice Challenge National Final took place at NZCB’s annual conference in Hamilton on 18-19 November, where 19 regional finalists from across the country competed for the top prize.

Apprentices were judged on examples of their work, dedication towards their apprenticeship, and a presentation to over 650 NZCB member builders attending the conference.

NZCB Chief Executive Malcolm Fleming says this year’s nationwide competition was a great opportunity for us to celebrate emerging talent in this crucial sector of the economy.

“With the building industry still experiencing the effects of COVID-19, from material supply issues and labour shortages and also the impacts of climate change, the conference was a chance to reflect on the past year, and share invaluable workshops on topics such as about health and safety, the use of technology and systems to increase efficiency and output,” said Mr Fleming.

As well as the title of New Zealand’s top apprentice, Joshua heads home with a $10,000 prize package from ITM and the Ken Read Memorial Trophy. The second-place winner walks away with $7,000 prize package from Milwaukee Tools New Zealand and the third-place-getter leaves with a $5,000 prize package from PlaceMakers. Other prizes were provided by Winstone Wallboards, Paslode and Sika.

During the NZCB annual conference, apprentices also participated in the Great Apprentice Race – a separate fun-focussed challenge where apprentices were put into pairs and showcased their skill and creativity by constructing and racing a human horse and cart. Tools and supplies were provided by Mitre 10 for the fun event. Seth Lundon (Gisborne) and Josh McLean (Taupo) impressed delegates and returned home as the Great Apprentice Race winners.

NZCB’s member builders are typically from small to medium-sized building firms that offer a full spectrum of residential and light commercial building services. Reflecting its focus on quality, NZCB is the only building trade association that requires builders to hold a formal trade qualification to be eligible for membership, and it provides ongoing skills development for its members.

In the context of its support for formal trade training, NZCB fosters and promotes apprenticeships in a number of ways, including running its annual Apprentice Challenge and through its partnerships with regional Campuses of Te Pūkenga – NZ Institute of Skills and Technology.

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