A Rotorua building apprentice has taken home a personality award at the NZ Certified Builders Apprentice Challenge held in association with ITM.

Rotorua regional finalist, Ross McIntyre, scooped up the Chairperson's Personality Award.

An NZ Certified Builders spokesperson said this year's competition saw a number of older apprentices competing, with six out of the 20 finalists aged 29 to 44, including 39-year-old McIntyre.

McIntyre decided to pick up the tools two years ago aged 37 and take on a building trade, the spokesperson said.

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This decision came at a great time given the current skills shortage and the country being in need of more builders, she said.

Auckland's Cedric Floaumoetui, 31, won the title of New Zealand's top apprentice at the Challenge. He is the first Pasifika winner of this prestigious annual competition. Peter Fox, 32, from Wellington won second place, and Regan Morris, 21, from Wairarapa came in third.

NZCB chief executive, Grant Florence, said the apprentice challenge was a great opportunity to celebrate emerging talent in this crucial sector of the economy and help promote the trades as a career, especially as demand for skilled builders remains high.

The apprentice challenge final took place at NZCB's annual conference in Christchurch on June 14 to 15, where 20 regional finalists from across the country competed for the top prize. Apprentices were judged on examples of their work, dedication towards their apprenticeship, and a presentation to more than 700 NZCB member builders attending the conference.

"It was great to see the enthusiasm and aptitude of all the apprentices across the country who took part in this competition," said Florence.

The NZCB Apprentice Challenge is supported by Industry Training Association Building, which offers the building industry's most comprehensive apprentice training scheme, combining extensive theoretical and practical training.

During the NZCB annual conference, apprentices also participated in the Great Apprentice Race – a separate fun challenge where apprentices showcased their skill and creativity by constructing and racing a wooden wheelbarrow. Tools and supplies were generously provided by Mitre 10 for the challenge. Corey Mennell from Southland impressed judges and delegates alike, and the 44-year old returns home as the Great Apprentice Race winner.

NZCB is the only one of New Zealand's two building trade associations that require builders to hold a formal trade qualification to be eligible for membership. In the context of its support for formal trade training, NZCB fosters and promotes apprenticeships in a number of ways, including its annual apprentice challenge and its support for ITAB.

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