News & Events

Master Electricians Apprentice Challenge

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The Master Electricians Apprentice Challenge is an annual competition held across New Zealand to find New Zealand’s BEST electrical apprentice!  This competition is open to ANY electrical apprentice with a current training agreement regardless of employer.

More than 180 electrical apprentices from across New Zealand took part in this year’s preliminary challenge rounds held in 12 cities across New Zealand. It’s the first time in two years that the annual Master Electricians Apprentice of the Year Challenge has gone through to the finals without having to cancel because of Covid.

The top five national competitors from each division (Domestic/Commercial and Industrial) go to the finals for an all-expenses paid trip to battle it out for the title of Master Electricians Apprentice Challenge winner.

Southern Group Training had three competitors in the Industrial Division with all three being hosted by New Zealand Aluminium Smelter.

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The Invercargill Challenge Industrial Winner for 2022 is Jade Valentine with Jack Oosterbroek in second place.  An excellent effort, especially as Jade was in the top 10 in New Zealand.

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The latest Grass Kart event was held at Northern Southland College in October, check out the action here

Grass Cart Challenge

Congratulations to our apprentice Brie Cook from Central Otago, hosted by Brook Carr Building, who was awarded the National Trades Category Winner and the the National Supreme Categories Winner at the NZ Institute of Building Awards in Auckland recently. Well done Brie and Brook Carr Building Ltd. Check out the article in the Cromwell Bulletin 15 Sept 2022 




Worldskills Welding Competition

Southern Group Training Trust had two finalist in the Southland Regional Worldskills Welding Competition.

The competition involved:

  • gas tungsten welding (TIG)
  • gas metal welding (MIG)
  • manual metal arc welding (Stick)

Pictured are Kent Lines and Kereama Tokona

Kent LR                                                                                                                        Kereama LR

Master Electricians Apprentice Challenge

Team Tiwai_161339

The Master Electricians Apprentice Challenge is an annual competition held across New Zealand to find New Zealand’s BEST electrical apprentice!
This competition is open to any electrical apprentice with a current training agreement regardless of employer.

How it works

Apprentices throughout the country will compete in two divisions, vying for the
esteemed titles of:
New Zealand’s Top Electrical Apprentice – Industrial Section
New Zealand’s Top Electrical Apprentice – Commercial & Domestic Section
Master Electricians Initiative Award.

Preliminary regional rounds will be held in cities around New Zealand, with the finals being held in Christchurch in conjunction
with the Master Electricians Conference.

The top competitors from each preliminary event will go home with some awesome prizes. There is also a ton of spot prizes.

Who goes to the finals?

The top 5 national competitors from each division (Domestic/Commercial and Industrial) will get to go to the finals for an all-expenses paid trip to battle it out for the title of Master Electricians Apprentice Challenge winner.

Southern Group Training is proud of its 3 competitors in the Industrial Section with Byoungsoo Kim placing 2nd and Jack Oosterbroek coming 3rd. Jade Valentine also represented Southern Group.

Jack O 123330                    Joshua Kim_134807                    Jade V_134843


Builders Celebrated Emerging Talent – 14 June 2021

Brie Cook LR

Southern Group Training was very proud to support apprentice Briearnah Cook, who after winning the Central Otago Certified Builders Apprentice Challenge competition, went on to compete in the National event in Wellington over the weekend.

More than 800 builders and industry stakeholders attended this year’s New Zealand Certified Builders (NZCB) Annual Conference and Expo in Wellington, which finished on Saturday. New Zealand’s top carpentry apprentice was named at the event, a celebration of emerging talent at a time when the sector faces a skills shortage among a number of other pressures.

South Canterbury’s Marc Palmer, aged 21, won the coveted title in the national final of the NZCB Apprentice Challenge Sponsored by ITM on Saturday after competing against 18 other regional finalists from across the country. Lucile Richardson (21) from Waikato placed second, and Ryan Whitburn (27) from Otago placed third, from among a diverse line-up of finalists that represented the changing face of New Zealand’s trades, with a record number of women competing and a number of older apprentices who have started their carpentry career later in life.

The event was part of a three day conference which presented an opportunity for attendees to look at the sector’s most pressing issues under the lens of sustainability – for the environment, their businesses and the trade itself.


Tupu Aotearoa sparks inspiration  


A little encouragement goes a long way, and for Merean Herman (pictured), some cheering from the sideline has put her on the path of achieving her dream to become a qualified Electrician.

Of Kiribati descent, 20-year-old Merean attended Southland Girls’ High School in Invercargill before taking up a New Zealand Certificate in Electrical Engineering (L3) at Southern Institute of Technology.

Intrigued by how electricity works, Merean’s dream is to become a qualified Electrician.

Knowing she needed some extra support to accomplish her dream, she enrolled in the Tupu Aotearoa programme, facilitated by Service Provider Pacific Trust Otago (PTO)  in Dunedin in November last year.

Employment and Training Navigator for Southland PTO Makalita Maka has worked with Merean since she first enrolled in Tupu Aotearoa.

“Merean was very shy initially and building a rapport with her and her family was important,” Makalita says. “However, after that it got easier, and Merean did most of the talking.”

The pair discussed apprenticeships and the possibility of working and earning while completing her Electrician qualifications, and Merean felt a little hesitant as she had applied for several apprenticeships previously but had not received any replies.

Despite her reservations, Merean agreed to go through the process of applying for an apprenticeship while finding employment in the meantime.

The versatile young woman found work caregiving at Florence Nightingale Group, while Makalita connected with Southern Group Training Trust (SGTT) Manager Glenys McKenzie, who welcomed an apprenticeship application from Merean.

Makalita says supporting Merean through the application process was essential, and it included helping her access her NCEA results, and filling in all the required information, as this is how employers form an opinion of potential employees.

Eventually, Merean was offered an interview and assessment by SGTT, and while feedback was positive, Mathematics knowledge proved to be a work-on for Merean.

As luck would have it, Merean was offered an interview for an apprenticeship by SGTT at Tiwai Smelter, and Glenys willingly helped prepare Merean for it.

“Despite some nerves, Merean had the interview with Tiwai HR and the Manager of SGTT, she was shortlisted and started work experience – a very positive result,” Makalita says.

Working with Merean has been fulfilling, she adds, as she has helped a young Pacific woman gain confidence and move towards achieving her career dream.

“I also really treasure moments like being welcomed by her family into their home and meeting everyone, Makalita says.

“Supporting our Pacific families and walking alongside them so they can see a vision of a better future, is what makes this job so rewarding – it is a pleasure and privilege.”

Visit the MPP website to learn more about out Tupu Aotearoa initiative.

Cromwell builder wins NZCB Apprentice Challenge


Central Otago New Zealand Certified Builders (NZCB) Apprentice Challenge champion for 2021, Briearnah Cook.

Apprentice Briearnah Cook has claimed the title of the Central Otago New Zealand Certified Builders (NZCB) Apprentice Challenge champion for 2021, after competing against two other apprentices on April 10.

The apprentices were put through their paces, given just eight hours to build a picnic table that followed specific design plans and met minimum safety standards.

The picnic tables were assessed by a panel of judges who looked at technical aspects such as the quality of workmanship, measuring, cutting and assembly, as well as other essential skills while working against the clock, including their ability to follow a detailed plan and safe working technique, with Cook receiving the top score overall.

Cook, aged 21, is undertaking her building apprenticeship through Southern Group Training and is hosted at Brook Carr Building. As well as winning the title of regional champion, she also won an ITM prize pack of trade tools and earned a place in the national final representing Central Otago.

There she will compete against 18 other regional winners from across New Zealand for the Ken Read Memorial Trophy and $50,000 worth of prizes. The national final will be held at the NZCB Annual Conference in Wellington on June 11-12.

NZCB Apprentice Challenge Manager, Nick Matthews, said the show of carpentry talent on Saturday was a testament to the high-calibre of apprentices currently in industry training.

“The future of New Zealand’s building industry is dependent on a robust pipeline of trade-qualified and well-rounded carpentry professionals. We encourage NZCB member builders to support this by taking on apprentices, as in doing so they provide a pathway into the industry and help to ensure there are highly-skilled builders coming through to meet the increasing demand for the sector,” says Mathews.



Southern Group Training participates in a huge number and variety of trades and business related events and programmes.

Our hope is that as more of these quality events are held in and around Southland we can do our part to raise the profile and attractiveness of trades as a viable career path for Southland youth.

World Skills

Regional competitions were disrupted by Covid 19 and will be underway again soon, keep an eye on their website here for up to date information.

In the past we congratulate our Otago/Southland representatives Lauren Phillips and Bradley Primmer competing in the Plumbing and Heating competition and  Jayden Miller and Brad Robertson competing in the Auto Technology competition at the 2019 New Zealand WorldSkills Competition

Check out the  WorldSkills International for the latest information  here

  apprenticeships_world_skills                                      Image result for world skills 2019 logo

 Worldskills Event 2019, Kazan

 WorldSkills Event 2017, Abu Dhabi

 WorldSkills Event 2015, Sao Paulo

Grass Kart Challenge