Pair blaze trail for building industry

Last updated 13:00 27/12/2012

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School leavers Ethan Blackadder and Hayden Bashford are stoked at being awarded the first apprentice scholarships from Nelson Registered Master Builders.

The association decided that because the building industry had a serious shortage of skilled staff and needed to train more apprentices it would take a lead in supporting the industry and training.

The two 17-year-olds were chosen from five applicants and will each receive $500 a year during their apprenticeship.

Ethan, who has just started his apprenticeship with Anchor Construction, said he felt pretty lucky to win the scholarship.

He did the trade building course at Nelson College and is full of praise for teacher Simon Croft, saying he learnt a lot from him.

At the start he wasn't sure about what he wanted to do, but said now he really enjoyed building. His enthusiasm shone through when he went to work a day a week for Anchor Construction.

Owner Colin Kennedy said Ethan was naturally talented and on his second day he talked to him about an apprenticeship.

He said he had regularly taken on apprentices until 2008 when he had to lay off some tradesmen.

Now, while work was steady, and there was likely to be a drift of tradesmen to the Christchurch rebuild, it was important to train, said Mr Kennedy, who is also on the Master Builders Nelson executive.

Hayden, who went to Waimea College, will start his apprenticeship with Gibbons Construction next month.

He did the school's Gateway programme, working once a week this year for Gibbons.

His father, Brian Bashford, is a builder and Hayden reckons it's in the blood. "I've just always wanted to be a builder."

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- Nelson

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