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Winners of the 2022 Master Electricians Apprentice of the Year Challenge named!

The winners of the 2022 Master Electricians Apprentice of the Year Challenge (in association with Etco) are Mathew Master, from Auckland, and Thomas Mitchell, from Palmerston North,

The two were awarded their winning titles at a special awards ceremony on Friday evening in Auckland, following two days of intense competition against eight other finalists. A third award – the Master Electricians Initiative Award – based on how the finalists approach the issue of health and safety as well as their conduct within the competition setting, was won by Jiehong Tan, from Auckland (employed by Etco – The Electrical Training Company – and hosted by Dalton Electrical). The winners of this year’s Master Electricians Excellence Awards were also announced at the ceremony.

Mathew, who is also employed by Etco and hosted by Dalton Electrical, won the title in the industrial division, and Thomas, employed by Etco, and hosted by Hedley Electrical, won the title in the domestic/commercial division.

“The two were up against a very impressive line-up of finalists,” says Mathew Lawrence, General Manager – Operations of the Master Electricians Association.

“The finalists had to complete five two-hour practical modules over two days – these reflected the various scenarios an apprentice might face on the job. It was apparent from the outset that all who had made it to the finals needed to be top of their game – and they were.”

Thomas, who entered the challenge last year but didn’t make the finals, said he was inspired to give it a go again this year with the goal of reaching the finals. Thomas took a shining to technology at a very young age and after taking electrical subjects at high school, he knew it was the career for him.

Host company, Hedley Electrical had complete faith that Thomas’s ability would shine through at the finals and recognised his ability to learn through experience across the variety of jobs assigned to him.

“My employer has been really helpful and supportive,” says Thomas. “I had a good idea of what I was in for this time – much better prepared and it’s been alright, although it was pretty pressured with a lot to do in a few hours.”

Mathew was equally positive about the support he had from his host employer, Dalton Electrical.

“They gave me some time off so that I could focus on preparing for the competition and some one-on-one with more experienced electricians to go through some of the more complex stuff I wouldn’t have encountered on the job.”

Mathew came to his apprenticeship via a conjoint university degree in computational logic/computer programming, and some time overseas. He returned to New Zealand keen to do something that would satisfy the computer side of his background but was more hands on than a desk job. And he’s finding many opportunities in the electrical industrial area for both.

“These challenges are invaluable for both the apprentices taking part,” says Mathew Lawrence. “They give the apprentices taking part the chance to see how they are doing, and the opportunity to learn and experience something they might not yet have come across.  And of course, if they reach the finals, they are given ‘bragging rights’. As for the winners, their names get out there, they become hot property, and get opportunities to forge ahead.”

“And the challenges also benefit employers hugely. They learn the strengths and weaknesses of their apprentices, so are better able to able to ensure training fills in the gaps, and of course they get the reflected glory when their apprentices do well.”

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.


Note: The awards evening was recorded and can be viewed via this link: Master Electricians Excellence Awards 2022 and photographs of the winning apprentices can be downloaded here

For more information, please contact:  

Daniel Jone, Marketing & Comms Manager, Master Electricians ,
P: 021 530 784. E: