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UCOL carpentry apprentices off to national competition

By UCOL on Tuesday, 24 April 2018

A photograph of UCOL student Michael Laursen-Muagututia working on a wooden castle

UCOL-managed carpentry apprentices won the recent NZ Certified Builder (NZCB) Apprentice Challenges for the Manawatu and Wairarapa regions, booking themselves places in the national final.

Michael Laursen-Muagututia, of Caldow Builders, took out the Central region NZCB Apprentice Challenge held in UCOL’s Palmerston North Trades Centre. Kyzen MacDonald, of Hewitt Builders won the Wairarapa competition at UCOL’s Wairarapa Campus.

Fellow UCOL-managed apprentice Adrian Wyrill, who came second in Palmerston North, will represent Taranaki at the national final. Cat Thomas, also a UCOL-managed apprentice, placed third. 

The competitors had eight hours to build a 1.5-metre high children’s castle playhouse, complete with a working drawbridge. The finished playhouses will be given to pre-school education centres.

Competitors were given plans a week in advance, giving them time to work out the best way to complete the project.

Central region winner Michael Laursen-Muagututia says he found the competition to be more of a mental challenge than a physical one. The third-year apprentice says the project was different to what he was used to coming from a commercial building company.

The panel of judges looked at how the competitors used their tools, their ability to follow plans, the accuracy of their measuring and cutting, their methodology for completing the project, and how they followed health and safety procedures. 

UCOL Programme Leader Construction David Freebairn, who oversaw the Central region competition, says, “It was very close between Michael and Adrian, so they are both very worthy of representing their regions.” 

UCOL has hosted the Central region NZCB Apprentice Challenge for the past four years, while this was the first year a Wairarapa competition took place. UCOL had three apprentices competing in each of the two competitions. The Challenge is open to apprentices employed by current NZCB builders or enrolled with ITAB (Industry Training Association Building).

The national final will take place from May 24 to May 27 in Rotorua.

UCOL partners with ITAB to train and manage apprentices. The apprentices complete block courses at UCOL’s Palmerston North and Wairarapa Campuses, and receive on-site visits from a UCOL assessor.

Pictured above: UCOL student and NZCB Apprentice Challenge Central region winner Michael Laursen-Muagututia attaches the drawbridge to his castle playhouse.