Apprentice electricians have the chance to show off their practical skills in the 2020 Master Electricians Apprentice of the Year Challenge, with a regional round held in Whanganui.

The Whanganui event on October 14 is one of 11 regional competitions from which national finalists will be selected. It is the 19th annual challenge, Master Electricians chief executive Bernie McLaughlin said.

Competitors can choose to compete in either the industrial or the commercial/domestic category, with the top five of each category battling for the supreme award at the finals in Wellington on November 18-21. There will be prizes for the regional and category winners as well as spot prizes.

The focus is on the practical, with competitors having to complete four modules at the regional stage and five at the final stage – reflecting the varied issues an apprentice might face on the job.


Last year 189 apprentices took part and McLaughlin is hoping for at least as many, if not more, this year. He said the challenge will not be daunting because, to help them prepare, competitors will be given a guideline of what the modules will contain two weeks before their preliminary event.

"As well as a great opportunity for apprentices to demonstrate their technical skills, the challenge is a significant showcase of our best up-and-coming talent to the broader electricity sector," McLaughlin said.

"And it can also be a source of inspiration for young people investigating careers they might embark on."

Master Electricians is inviting senior secondary school students to attend to watch the apprentices in action.

"We want to encourage young people to consider the electrical trade as a viable career option and feel that showing them what it could look like in practice is one way to do that."

New Zealand has about 5000 electrical apprentices, but more are needed to meet the current and growing demand for electricians.

Apprentices can sign on for the challenge via the Master Electricians website The only prerequisites are that contestants must have a current apprenticeship agreement and a minimum of six months, but no more than 45 months, on-the-job experience.

The Whanganui event starts at 8am on Wednesday, October 14. The venue has not yet been confirmed.