Whangārei Rising Star Jayden Hudson-Owen Takes Out Regional Certified Builders Apprentice Challenge

Jayden Hudson-Owen always knew school wasn’t for him, but he wasn’t prepared to leave without a plan. With an interest in building since he was a kid, Jayden enrolled in a Gateway programme through his high school, giving him an introduction to the trades. On the second day he was offered a job, and he started his BCITO apprenticeship in 2022.

That star quality is exactly why Jayden has now won the Certified Builders Apprentice Challenge in his native Whangārei.

Jayden’s BCITO Training Advisor, Josh Gwilliam, and employer­ at C J Building Services, Craig Pollard, encouraged him to enter the challenge after seeing what he was capable of.

“They believed in me; they saw something in me. I signed up, but almost talked myself out of it!” says Jayden.

Fortunately, his desire to push himself overcame his nerves, and he took on the competition in April. Jayden and the other participants were required to build a picnic table, working from a set of plans provided the week before.

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Unbeknownst to him, Jayden had been given some twisted timber.

“I think this set me apart though. It demonstrated my ability to problem solve,” he says.

The judges must have agreed, naming Jayden the regional winner after the gruelling eight-hour challenge. Jayden says it was a surreal experience.

“It still hasn’t really sunk in. When they announced that I had won, I couldn’t believe it, I was shaking, and my family were in tears. It was an unreal feeling. I’m stoked to be able to say that I’m the top apprentice in Whangārei.”

Jayden is now looking ahead to the national Certified Builders Apprentice Challenge on 21-22 June at Tākina convention centre in Wellington. The event requires him to deliver a CV, project portfolio, a two-hour build, an interview, speech, and exam.

“I am a bit nervous about the range of paperwork needed. I have dyslexia, so I find that kind of thing difficult. But mostly I’m just proud of myself for how far I’ve come already,” he says.

He credits the support he received from BCITO as playing a pivotal role in his success.

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“My training advisor Josh Gwilliam’s belief in me helped a lot. Having someone see your potential and encourage you to reach higher goes a long way.”

When asked if he had any advice for other apprentices considering entering the competition, his message was to not be afraid.

“It may appear daunting, but it’s a great opportunity. It’s important to remember that everyone is in the same boat as you. There’s no such thing as coming last.”

Aotearoa New Zealand needs more people to upskill and grow their knowledge to create much-needed quality homes and infrastructure. BCITO has the resources and support systems in place to ensure everyone can enhance and refine their skills.

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