Thomas Monaghan is building his way to success.

The Wanganui man has been nominated for the Central North Island Regional Registered Master Builders Third Year Apprentice of the Year.

Mr Monaghan says he left school unsure about what he wanted to do.

"So I spoke to my parents and my father said it would be great if I got a trade.

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"I did a tertiary course for building after I left school, in my first year out of school, and then I approached Shane (owner of Shane Stone Builders) and asked if he could take me on."

Mr Monaghan was offered a 90-day trial by Mr Stone and was on a scheme where the Government helped cover the costs of his tools and supplies.

The competition is open to any building apprentice in the Central North Island. Mr Monaghan says he's not sure how many people entered in his region.

Mr Monaghan has been selected as one of 10 finalists from the Central North Island area, which covers Manawatu, Wanganui and Taranaki.

"Basically what happened was I got interviewed by a panel [including representatives from Carters and Masterbuilders] and they asked me questions like why I enjoy building, what products I used, where I wanted to go with my future and how I started out - things like that."

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in Palmerston North next month and if Mr Monaghan is selected he will go to Auckland to compete against apprentices from the other regions.

Mr Monaghan says he would one day like to own his own business but in the meantime he wants to focus on increasing his skills and becoming a better foreman.

- Kelly Teed is an AUT journalism student on work experience at the Chronicle.