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Regan sets benchmark

Regan Morris [left] shakes hands with NZCB president Paul Bashford. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

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Third year Thistle Building apprentice Regan Morris won the title of Wairarapa’s top building apprentice at the NZCB Apprentice Challenge on Saturday.

The 21-year-old said it was “really rewarding” starting alongside the other three apprentices in the challenge, as it was when they all stepped back after eight hours and looked at four finished bench seats.

He said the job really started a week before last Saturday, when the apprentices received detailed construction plans.

“We received the plans for the bench seat a week before the competition, and our job was to study those specific plans and, essentially, follow the exact measurements, and construct the project within eight hours.”

The seats were assessed by a panel of judges on workmanship, measuring, cutting and assembly, and Morris said he felt the pressure.

“It’s not just your usual day on site.

“You have the added pressure of competing and you are aware that you are being judged basically the whole way through.”

As regional winner, he takes home a range of trade tools courtesy of sponsor ITM and will represent Wairarapa at the NZCB Apprentice Challenge Final, to be held at the NZCB Annual Conference in Christchurch on June 14-15.

Organisers said the competition was getting strong entry numbers, with a record number of entries nationwide from female apprentices.

NZCB chief executive Grant Florence said the country’s entrants showed skill, talent, and passion, which he credited to their “dedication, employer support, and the comprehensive training provided by the Industry Training Association Building [ITAB] scheme”.

“The future of New Zealand’s building industry is dependent on a robust pipeline of top-quality apprentices. Fostering and encouraging young talent is a responsibility NZCB takes seriously,” Florence said.

The park seats crafted by the four apprentices will be donated to the Wairarapa Cancer Society.

Morris will face 19 other regional winners to compete for the Ken Read Memorial Trophy and $50,000 in prizes in the national final.

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