New apprentice Abbey Mills is part of a wave of teenagers building a future by picking up the tools.
The Whitianga 17-year-old signed up for an apprenticeship in November after a local builder approached her school looking for a hardworking student keen on a career in the trade.
Abbey was always interested in building and the head of technology at Mercury Bay School, John Sedcole, recognised her talents and put her forward for the apprenticeship.
"It was a great opportunity for me and means no student loan and most of the training is on the job," Mills said.
"I'm really enjoying it and learning so much."
Abbey's parents, Vanessa and Jeff Mills were a big part of the decision-making process and spoke to employer Brett Goodger from LBG Builders at length before Abbey signed up.
The school also gave its support and encouragement and a mentor was provided by training authority BCITO.
Goodger said Abbey had already impressed him with her attention to detail and tidiness, something vital to the high-end architecturally designed properties they work on.
Clients had also emailed Goodger to say how impressed they were with Abbey's effort and work ethic.
"She is doing so well and picking things up really quickly," Goodger said.
"The way we are working at the moment she is getting to learn a real variety of build processes and using plenty of different tools."
Goodger had employed around 12, mostly adult, apprentices over the years.
He said the Government's new Apprenticeship Boost scheme, which helped pay the cost of apprentices, was a welcomed surprise when he went to employ Abbey.
"I went to pull out the card to pay for the registration and they said it was covered," he said.
"We have always employed apprentices but it is a great way to encourage businesses who haven't taken anyone on before."
Goodger said it was encouraging to hear the number of young apprentices had doubled since the introduction of Apprenticeship Boost.
"I said to Abbey once she is qualified there are so many building opportunities here in New Zealand and she can earn really good money.
"It is also one of those skills you can take overseas on your OE, you can own your own business and build your own house, the opportunities are endless."