Young plasterer off to Australia

By Alice Lock

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Young talent: Rikki Dewes is representing New Zealand at the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries Challenge 2016. Photo/ Duncan Brown
Young talent: Rikki Dewes is representing New Zealand at the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries Challenge 2016. Photo/ Duncan Brown

A young apprentice is heading across the ditch to compete against Australasia's finest plasterers this weekend.

Rikki Dewes took out the New Zealand under 25's Work Skills Plastering competition held in Rotorua last week and is now travelling to Darwin for the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industries Challenge 2016.

"I was pretty happy with the outhouse I created in the nationals and now my goal is to win in Australia, as no New Zealander has ever won it."

Mr Dewes has been an apprentice plasterer for the last three years at Atlas Fibrous Plaster Co.

Company owner, Bryce Clifford, said Rikki had been doing really well in the company and going to Darwin was a great opportunity for him.

"He will learn a lot, as they all have different techniques so will be good for him to compete against people and rub shoulders with other BITCO apprentices."

He said the New Zealand competition was well placed within the firm, as out of the 20 times they have entered they have walked away with 15 titles.

"We have had a couple of guys win it twice and Rikki has been out on jobs with a guy who won it 10 years ago so he has been given a lot of inside knowledge."

Mr Dewes said there was a lot to live up to but he wanted to repeat what he did at the New Zealand competition by going in with a bit of confidence and a clear head.

"I just want to go for it and hope for the best."

The competition requires the contestants to build a large crocodile billboard across two days.

"It is all about skills, work ethic, health and safety and how you present yourself," Mr Clifford said.

"You have to show that you are all aspects of a good tradesman, so you cannot just throw the tools on the ground they have to be placed nicely," Mr Dewes said.

The young apprentice said what he loved most about plastering was the attention to detail.

"I just like to finish the job, stand back and look at it with a sense of achievement. It feels really good."

He said Atlas Fibrous Plaster Co had been a great place to work, as they have prepared him for all aspects of plastering.

"They do a variety not just one type of plastering and your able to learn off 30 different guys."

The company also do manufacturing, making moulds, and he said he is keen to learn to that side of it in the future.

"I just want to keep carrying on what I am doing and keep going upwards."

Mr Clifford said the competition was great for "little old Hastings" as Mr Dewes was up against people from around the country.

"It just shows us that we are doing something right. It is great to watch and I hope it keeps on going."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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