15 Apr 2016
Building apprentices show their skills building playhouses.
Five apprentices from Ara Institute of Canterbury had just over eight hours to build a playhouse during the ITaB Apprentice competition on the weekend. With points deducted for every millimetre of inaccuracy and every visible hammer mark, the pressure was on for the entire day as the three judges checked the apprentices' work against five pages of marking schedule.
Kerry Mason was the winner on the day and will now represent Canterbury at the national final. Ara carpentry tutor John McLardy was one of the judges for the event and was impressed with the results. The playhouses will be donated to local preschools and kindergartens and will be a valuable addition if the reaction of children at the final judging was any indication.
"We had children climbing over them as we were doing the final marking," McLardy said.
Another of the judges was Zac Wilkinson, who won both the regional and national competition in 2012 and now runs his own business, Zac Wilkinson Construction.
"That's where Kerry and the other guys who competed are headed," McLardy said. "You can tell they are the builders of the future."
The other contestants were Scott Baker, Mark Johnston, Jamie Nuttridge and Todd Boyce.The Certified Builders Association organised the competition and supplied the materials, plans and prizes, while Ara staff ran the event on the day at the Woolston Campus. The five contestants received a $50 voucher each with the winner taking home an orbital sander to add to his toolkit.
ItaB is run as a partnership between The Certified Builders Association and institutes of technology around the country. Apprentices who join commit to 8000 hours of onsite work as well as the theory components that are required, McLardy said.
"This has been very successful in Christchurch with apprentices and builders taking to the system because of its regular support, feedback and monitoring of the apprenticeship progress."
At Ara, apprentices have the option of two study pathways to gain the National Certificate in Carpentry (Level 4), either completing the course work in three fulltime 12 week blocks or during night classes over three years.