Concrete Cutter Wins 2018 Apprentice Award

Rafaele Vaifale of Sharp Concrete Cutters & Drillers Ltd in Auckland took home the 2018 Concrete Industry Apprentice of the Year award at the Concrete New Zealand Conference held at Claudelands in Hamilton, 11 to 13 October.

Rafaele and Janine Vaifale
Rafaele and Janine Vaifale


Relatively new to the concrete sawing and drilling sector, Rafaele, or Ralf as he is known, is self-motivated and independent. Energised by new challenges, Ralf seeks to ‘think outside the square’ to find solutions.

Starting off as a trainee driller, Ralf’s positive attitude has seen him progress to large, deep and technical drilling. Having gained experience on some big Auckland projects such as the Waterview Tunnel and the Mangere BNR Upgrade, Ralf is learning something new every day.

Raewyn Sharp of Sharp Concrete Cutters & Drillers, Ralf’s employer, thinks she “struck gold” with Ralf, who she describes as “a team player full of enthusiasm, eager to learn, not afraid to challenge himself and humble enough to ask for help when needed.”

Ralf recently completed the BCITO’s National Certificate in Concrete Construction: Sawing & Drilling Level 3. 

“We are pleased to congratulate Ralf on this achievement.  With the number of people completing formal concrete qualifications continuing to grow, it is wonderful to celebrate and reward the best of the best. It’s what makes coming to work every day all worth it – to see apprentices, the young, shining stars of our industry, getting the recognition they deserve,” says Warwick Quinn, Chief Executive, BCITO.

Concrete New Zealand (NZ) Chief Executive, Rob Gaimster, says that productivity within the construction industry is currently faced with a number of hurdles, such as a lack of skilled workers, and one solution is to encourage the uptake of industry training, such as enrolment in a BCITO qualification.

“Concrete NZ and BCITO launched the Concrete Industry Apprentice of the Year award two years ago for all those enrolled in, or who have recently completed, one of BCITO's concrete apprenticeships, with the aim of celebrating exceptional individuals,” says Rob.

“The quality of entrants in 2018 was outstanding, covering those that work (and train) in precast concrete, placing and finishing, concrete production and concrete construction.  While judging was tough it provided an insight into some of our leaders of tomorrow.

“Ralf stood out as a worthy trainee who deserves applause for his enthusiasm and willingness to learn. This, coupled with his appreciation of what he can learn from his experienced colleagues, and interest in the intricacies of concrete cutting and drilling resonated, with the judges.

“The Concrete Industry Apprentice of the Year award is gaining momentum and will continue to be a vehicle to help industry celebrate top apprentices, the value of trade training and the importance of employer and family support.

“Those considering a career in construction must consider the tremendous opportunities available across the wider concrete industry.  An important first-leg on the voyage is to sign up for a BCITO concrete apprenticeship.”

The award was open to all those enrolled in, or who had recently completed, one of the following BCITO concrete apprenticeships:

Precast Concrete (Level 3)
Concrete Production (Level 3)
Product Manufacture: Pipe (Level 3)
Product Manufacture: Masonry Product (Level 3) 
Construction: Sawing & Drilling (Level 3)
Construction: Placing & Finishing (Level 3)
Concrete Construction (Level 4)

The Concrete Industry Apprentice of the Year was made possible thanks to major sponsors BCITO and Concrete NZ.

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