Building apprentice top of the table

2024 Southland Apprentice of the Year William Hogg used his spare time on Saturday to stain and...
2024 Southland Apprentice of the Year William Hogg used his spare time on Saturday to stain and oil his entry in the annual competition. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Invercargill building apprentice William Hogg nabbed his second win at the regional Apprenticeship Challenge on Saturday.

Mr Hogg, 20, used the experience he gained from the 2023 competition to rocket himself to first place well ahead of deadline.

Competition convener Will Kennedy said Hogg also won the 2023 competition.

"It was his second year of having a go at it. The experience gained from last year, this year he was streaks ahead — his organisation, knowing what was expected of him and his preparation.

"He won by leaps and bounds. Knowing the marking schedule which all the young apprentices get a copy of, but he focused on those areas and ticked all the boxes for the judges."

Apprentices were given eight hours to build a picnic table that followed specific design plans and met minimum safety standards.

They had a week to study the plans and prepare. Some problem solving was required as not all measurements were provided.

Mr Hogg said he had used the past year to learn more from the people around him, which allowed him to put a bit more time and effort into his entry this year.

"It felt really good going into it because I’d done quite a bit of prep work. It’s all about the pre-work."

He initially built his table top separately, which ended up not square by a couple of millimetres and needed to be adjusted, using about 45 minutes of his "valuable" time.

After a break and a head scratch to assess the situation, he knew what was needed to fix it.

"I took a break for a minute and came back to it.

"Everyone there was cool, calm and collected which took all the pressure away," Mr Hogg said.

Mr Kennedy said Mr Hogg had prepared well.

"He had time to stain and oil his project afterwards. It looked amazing, even though he wasn’t judged on that."

The picnic tables were assessed by a panel of expert judges from the Southern Institute of Technology who looked at technical aspects such as the quality of workmanship, measuring, cutting and assembly, as well as their ability to follow a detailed plan and safe working technique.

Mr Hogg was completing his apprenticeship with Kennedy Building, but judging was undertaken by an independent panel.

Mr Kennedy said he was impressed with Mr Hogg’s workmanship and time management.

"Just to see the change in attitude. Last year he went in quite relaxed and jovial. This year he’s very serious. I’m excited for the potential with him going up to Wellington and competing against the regional winners."

He has been impressed with how far his skills had advanced during the past year.

"It’s such a worthwhile competition. It’s a bugger we can’t get more guys to do it."

As well as winning the regional title, Mr Hogg also won a $500 ITM gift voucher to redeem on trade tools and earned a place in the national final representing Southland in Wellington against 19 other regional winners in June.

The winner at the June nationals would pick up the Ken Read Memorial Trophy and $50,000 worth of prizes.

The picnic tables built on Saturday will be sold to raise money for the NZCB Apprentice Trust, which is designed to support members of the Apprentice Network with grants and scholarships.

 - By Toni McDonald