Qtown builders top in the re­gion


A Queen­stown builder with a pas­sion for eco-build­ing and ‘‘sense of di­rec­tion’’ has won a re­gional ap­pren­tice com­pe­ti­tion.

Twenty-five-year-old builder Josh Atkins was named the top ap­pren­tice for 2017 at the South­ern Reg­is­tered Mas­ter Builders cer­e­mony in Gore on Fri­day.

He is now aim­ing to win the na­tional com­pe­ti­tion and build eco homes in the fu­ture.

‘‘With the housing cri­sis those op­tions can be made af­ford­able, and I think it’s a good fu­ture for res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion.

‘‘I think they [judges] liked my sense of di­rec­tion,’’ Atkins added.

Us­ing so­lar power wisely could help the re­gion and the coun­try, he said.

‘‘Down the line I’d like to be a part of eco build­ing and see what we can achieve there.’’

Queen­stown was a great place to work in the build­ing in­dus­try, as it was ‘‘boom­ing’’, Atkins said.

‘‘There’s lots go­ing on, you can go ei­ther com­mer­cial or res­i­den­tial and there’s lot of work and op­por­tu­ni­ties for young guys.’’

There had been in­cred­i­ble changes in the four years since he started work­ing in the re­gion.

Queen­stown’s Boyd Van Leeuwen and Wanaka’s Brock Vuleta, 20, came sec­ond and third re­spec­tively.

As a fi­nal­ist, Bayshore Builders’ Atkins would un­dergo a 45-minute in­ter­view and com­pete in a na­tional car­pen­try chal­lenge in Novem­ber.

Judges were im­pressed with Atkins’ in-depth knowl­edge of the build­ing in­dus­try.

‘‘Josh’s at­ti­tude to keep learn­ing all he can, in­clud­ing sus­tain­able and eco build­ing and al­ter­na­tive meth­ods of con­struc­tion, is a big pos­i­tive for the in­dus­try,’’ they said.

Reg­is­tered Mas­ter Builders chief ex­ec­u­tive David Kelly says the com­pe­ti­tion high­lighted the im­por­tance of ap­pren­tice­ships dur­ing New Zealand’s build­ing boom.

‘‘Ap­pren­tice­ships play an im­por­tant role in en­sur­ing the in­dus­try can build through the troughs and mit­i­gate skills short­ages, which are cur­rently fac­ing the build­ing and con­struc­tion in­dus­try,’’ Kelly said.

Build­ing and Con­struc­tion In­dus­try Train­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive War­wick Quinn said the in­dus­try ‘‘des­per­ately’’ needed more re­cruits, and the fi­nal­ists were ‘‘strong role mod­els’’ for those con­sid­er­ing be­com­ing builders.

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