Connor Whitley-Su’a: Supreme Award winner

Connor Whitely-Su’a was recently named the winner of the Stage 3 Flooring Apprentice of the Year. He also took out the ultimate prize of the evening, the Supreme Award, becoming the nation’s top flooring apprentice for 2018. 

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Connor, a proud Kaitaia boy, found his way into the construction industry after leaving high school. His cousin helped find him a job with a builder based in Auckland, where he worked for the next two years. It was here that he found his passion for the flooring industry. Connor says, “On a particular job I got to see a vinyl layer at work. What he was doing looked pretty crafty, so I offered to help him out for an hour over my lunch break. That installer worked for Hills and he put me in touch with them. That’s how I got started.” 

Connor went on to train with Hills Commercial Floors Ltd, Auckland completing his apprenticeship in 2017. “I learned a lot during my apprenticeship, it’s hard to narrow it down to the one most valuable thing. For me it was probably the technical side, learning about the different materials and glues. The apprenticeship makes you more aware that there’s a lot more to the industry.” 

When asked what he loves about the trade, Connor says, “I love flooring because it’s a finishing trade. A room is pretty boring until the floor has been laid, and it’s amazing how different it can look after the floor’s been finished. I’ve also had the chance to work all over the country, taking on jobs in Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington and Palmerston North. I was the go-to-guy for work that was out of town.” 

Connor quickly progressed into a supervisory role within Hills and is now running his own flooring installation business contracting to Hills Floors. Additionally, Connor has now taken up the mantle of trainer, passing on the skills he’s learned to a new apprentice. 

Connor says the Apprentice of the Year awards night is the highlight of his career so far and that winning the Supreme Award was a big shock. He has aspirations to eventually go to university to study architecture. He says, “Now that I’ve shared this goal with you I’ll have to make it happen!” BCITO congratulates Connor and all the award winners for their hard work and dedication to their training. 

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