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Apprentice drilling for success

NZCB Wairarapa regional president Paul Bashford congratulating Logan Allen after winning the NZCB Wairarapa Apprentice Challenge on Saturday. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED

Masterton apprentice wins building challenge
Fast-paced building ain’t no picnic, but a Masterton building apprentice has just shown precisely what he can do with a bag of tools and limited time, writes JOHN LAZO-RON.
Logan Allen with the winning picnic table he built.

Masterton building apprentice Logan Allen has earned himself a spot in the New Zealand Certified Builders National Apprentice Challenge final in June after taking out the 2021 Wairarapa regional title on Saturday.

Allen, 21, was one of three Wairarapa apprentices who were put through their paces, as they were given just eight hours to build a specific pre-designed picnic table.

The picnic tables were assessed by a panel of expert judges who looked at many technical aspects such as the quality of workmanship and other essential skills, including their ability to follow a detailed plan and safe working technique.

All three were able to finish within that eight-hour window, but Allen finished with the top score overall, which took the three-year apprentice at DMac Construction by surprise.

“I was actually pretty surprised that I won,” Allen said.

“They said it was quite close between myself and Angus [Petrie] so I was a bit surprised, but obviously, I was happy that I won so I’ll take it.”

“The first two hours was quite slow when we started,” he said.

“Then straight after lunch, it just went in a blink of an eye, so had to really concentrate.

“I kept my earmuffs on the whole day, I didn’t really look up, just had my head down. On a weekly basis normally, I would have the radio going, but no radio on Saturday.”

Allen said he credits a lot of the win to his boss Daniel Macarthur, who prepped and mentored him for the challenge – which he said was a big helping point in getting him through it all, let alone winning the challenge – and then hung around the entire day in support.

“I was a bit nervous to have a go at it from the start to be honest. But the more [Macarthur] talked me through it, the more I was up for it, so it wasn’t so bad.

“I wasn’t initially confident that I was going to win, but I got more confident once my boss had helped me out and talked me through a lot of it.”

Although his boss got to see him in action on the day, Allen’s mother and partner didn’t.

“My boss was there the whole day which was great,” he said.

“My mum and my partner wanted to come down too, but I told them they weren’t allowed to,” said Allen, who said their presence would have brought on the nerves.

[From left to right] Angus Petrie [2nd], Logan Allen [1st], and Ryan Tobin [3rd].
The win now sends Allen to the national final in Wellington, where he’ll go up against 18 other regional winners from across New Zealand for the Ken Read Memorial Trophy and $50,000 worth of prizes.

Allen said he was confident looking towards the final, but it would be a different story regarding knowing what they were building on the day.

“I’m a little bit nervous, because the guy that won the Wairarapa challenge two years ago told me that nobody knows what you’re building until the day you get there,” he said.

“They take you into a room tell you what you’re building, and then you build it, and it leads into a challenge.

“It is a little nerve-racking I guess, just trying to think about what tools I’m going to need to take, but I’m still reasonably confident.

“My boss has taught me quite a lot so I’ll head into it going on that believing I can do it.

“I do like a bit of a challenge, I’m a little bit competitive. You don’t always win but good to see where I stand.”

All the picnic tables made from all 19 region participants will now be auctioned off, with the money to be donated to the Cancer Society.

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