Perfect picnic table wins Apprentice Challenge

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Precision and attention to detail won the day for apprentice builder and WITT trades student Steven Taylor who took out the Taranaki heat of the annual New Zealand Certified Builders challenge.

The challenge was hosted by WITT in one of the institution’s construction workshops last Saturday.

Steven was one of four apprentices who participated in the challenge to build a picnic table in eight hours.

The tables were judged for the quality of workmanship, measuring, cutting and assembly – and Steven received the top score overall.

His tutor Campbell Bower says fellow students and tutors at WITT were proud of Steven’s success.

“Congratulations to Steven on winning the Taranaki Apprentice Challenge! Crafting a picnic table in just one day showcased exceptional skill and dedication. Steven’s talent, creativity, and ability to problem-solve efficiently set a high standard in a pressured environment,” says Campbell.

“The judging of all the apprentices’ work was a hard task with only four points out of 300 between them. All the apprentices showed why they deserved to be there with all showing skills of a qualified builder.”

The 31-year-old is in his second year at WITT studying for a Level Four Certificate in Carpentry while doing his building apprenticeship for a Stratford company, Adan Larsen Builders.

Steven says winning the challenge was a “good feeling.” His success is even more impressive given he’d only had a few hours sleep prior to the event thanks to the birth of his second child just 30 hours before the start of the challenge.

Steven was inspired to become a builder and start an apprenticeship 18 months ago because he was bored with his previous job as car parts manager.

As a builder, he says he appreciates that “every day is different, you work outside in the sun and the rain, and at the end of the day you see the rewards of your work – a house taking shape.”

Having an apprenticeship and studying carpentry in one week block courses at WITT worked well for him. He hopes to have his own building business one day. He would encourage anyone seeking a new direction through starting an apprenticeship to “give it a go.”

Steven was awarded a $500 ITM voucher to buy trade tools, along with the title of Taranaki’s top apprentice builder. He will compete against 19 other regional winners in Wellington in June.

For more information here on our carpentry and other trades training programmes.

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