New Zealand’s 2022 Apprentice of the Year Winner is…

by | Nov 25, 2022

Dane Schnell - Apprentice of the Year 2022

Dane Schnell – Apprentice of the Year 2022


On the 14-15th of November the 2022 New Zealand Apprentice of the Year regional winners, featured in the October issue of the Australian Hardware Journal, attended the national practical, interview and awards gala dinner.

The top eight apprentices from around Aotearoa came together in Auckland to compete in the final stages of the competition, undertaking a 45-minute interview with the national judging panel and a six-hour practical skills test. This year the practical component challenged the apprentices to each create a rocket ship to donate to early learning centres through Evolve Education Group.

Every year the competition is a chance for the industry to recognise the important role that a strong pipeline of talent plays. Apprentice of the Year celebrates developing talent and highlights the opportunities available to carpentry apprentices.

Registered Master Builders Chief Executive, David Kelly, was impressed with the group’s talent and their commitment to being the best in their field, especially during the current environment.

“Learning new skills and applying oneself is challenging at the best of times but doing so under the conditions of the past two years is a testament to their dedication and commitment.”

“Leadership in our industry matters. We look at our up-and-coming apprentices and asses their aspirations to see how we can provide fulfilling career pathways within the sector,” said Mr Kelly.

Coming out on top and proudly winning the title of New Zealand’s 2022 Apprentice of the Year was Dane Schnell, 23, from the Auckland Region – currently employed by Coastal Concepts.

Dane Schnell Apprentice of the Year 2022

Feedback from the judging panel was, “Dane is a well-rounded and ambitious apprentice. He excels both on the tools and on the field – representing Birkenhead in the National Football League. Dane has clear plans for his future and knows what he needs to do to get there.”

“His practical challenge was very impressive. Despite a turbulent start, he was the first one to finish the rocket ship, completing it to an extremely high standard. The same could be said for the other areas of the competition. He excelled in his interview, answering technical questions very competently.”

“Well done, Dane. The standard amongst our national finalists this year was very high, you have done an excellent job in taking out first place. We look forward to watching your future closely,” said the judging panel.

Runner-up went to Paulo Oliveira, 29 from the Northern Region, employed by TP Builders and Chris Foy, 21 from the Waikato region, employed by Urban Homes was awarded third place. Both are also completing their training through BCITO, a business division of Te Pūkenga.

Apprentice of the Year would not be possible without the national sponsor family. The loyalty of sponsors and their investment in the competition and the industry is fantastic and hugely appreciated.

“CARTERS remains committed to supporting apprentices from across the country as they build their future in the construction industry. Partnering with the competition is a great way to celebrate emerging talent and our future industry leaders,” said Mike Guy, CARTERS CEO.

BCITO Director, Jason Hungerford also congratulated this year’s winners, saying, “It is great to see so much support for both apprentices and their employers in the competition this year. It is a wonderful opportunity to see our sector come together and celebrate the upcoming talent and the industry’s future leaders.”

“Apprentices coming through our trades training programme are our lifeblood and it is fantastic to see so many showcasing their craftsmanship and skill. We congratulate all national finalists for their outstanding achievements”

Apprentice of the Year finalists 

A huge congratulations to all eight national finalists who proudly represented their respective regions. Each had to compete against more than 100 other apprentices in their local competitions which is a significant achievement.