Tauranga's Ethan Inglis will be among 10 young carpenters competing for the top award in Friday's Registered Master Builders Carters 2016 Apprentice of the Year.
Mr Inglis, 22, who works for Skilled Building Solutions and trained through the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation, won the regional Bay of Plenty/Central Plateau competition to take part in the nation awards.
To enter, he served as foreman on an apartment building project for his company, then submitted the details for his application to the awards.
"You have to want to do it, but you need the backing of your bosses," he said.
"It's probably the best thing you can do. You get thrown in the deep end [leading the build] and it either makes you or breaks you. It teaches you leadership and communication skills as well as general people skills."
Taking on the leadership role also gave him more foresight into building, he added.
"You have to think ahead, whereas, if you are one of the boys you pretty much get told what to do. If you get put in charge of something you can progress and move upwards and onwards."
To take out the national competition, the apprentices will have to impress the judging panel during a two-day event, undergoing a 45-minute interview along with a practical component. Each competitor will build a child's playhouse, with the finished products being donated to local schools. The practical challenge will take place at The Cloud in Auckland on Friday and will be open to the public from 8am.
Registered Master Builders chief executive David Kelly said there had never been a better time to recognise the need for skilled apprentices in our industry.
"The industry is facing unprecedented demand, yet productivity must not come at the expense of quality," he said.
"There has never been a better time to begin an apprenticeship. We wish all the finalists good luck as they make their mark on the industry as Master Builders."
The national winner will receive prizes including the use of a Ford Ranger ute for a year and a $5000 grant courtesy of Carters, a range of quality tools and an iPad, courtesy of the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment. All finalists will also attend a specially designed Outward Bound course and the Registered Master Builders House of the Year National Gala on November 26.