Three Ballarat apprentices have been honoured for the quality of their work at Master Builders Victoria’s Regional Apprentice of the Year Awards. 

Mature age apprentice Toby McClure from Bacchus Marsh was awarded the Ballarat Chairperson’s Award at a celebration last night (Thursday, March 2) at the Mercure Hotel Ballarat and Convention Centre, which was attended by more than 100 guests. 

Nominated by both his training provider, Building Skills and his employer, DC Built, Toby’s persistence and outstanding dedication to his trade was evident to this years’ judges.  

Toby is a mature aged apprentice who, after being encouraged by his family, decided to leave his successful job as a furniture removalist to pursue what he was genuinely passionate about, working with his hands and carpentry.  

“Being a mature age apprentice Toby brings a great work ethic and responsibility to his job and he’s demonstrated the ability to pick things up quickly and has shown a keen interest to learn as much as possible,” the judges noted.  

“And when mentoring others, Toby demonstrates great patience and leadership skills when sharing his wisdom and enthusiasm with those around him.”  

Master Builders Victoria CEO (Interim) Michaela Lihou said “Toby is another fine example of the success mature age apprentices can achieve in our industry. After starting out his working life in transport, Toby has seen the wonderful career pathway opportunities which exist in the building industry. By using his existing skill sets, he has repurposed these to successfully transition into a new and exciting career within construction.” 

Looking to the future, Toby says he is keen to continue developing his skills and one day gain his Builder Registration. 

Apprentices nominated for the awards were judged on their preparation and presentation, work experience, knowledge and career plans, attitude on and about the job and industry representation by a panel of industry judges.

Isaac Stolk from Wendouree took home the Ballarat Apprentice of the Year Craftsperson Award

Nominated by his training provider, GOTAFE and employed by Robson Glass, Isaac has been described as a passionate worker, committed to his craft. The judges noted that working in the historic region of Ballarat exposes Isaac to not only modern types of glazing, but also to traditional timber glazing which can sometimes be more problematic. 

“With a sharp eye for detail, Isaac shows great passion for this craft, which is demonstrated in the beautiful works he creates specialising in leadlighting,” said the judges. “It’s clear he enjoys glazing, and loves having to adapt across a wide variety of jobs and while sometimes challenging, Isaac uses his problem-solving skills to deliver great results.” 

Isaac’s hope for the future is to continue to learn the business aspect of his trade and explore starting his own company at some point in the future. 

The final award of the night, the Ballarat Apprentice of the Year – Developing Leader Award – was won by James Crilly from Alfredton. James is employed by CRK Holdings and was nominated for the award by his training provider, Building Skills Centre. 

The judges noted that James demonstrated a high level of workmanship in his carpentry work, which he undertakes with great passion. Despite his busy schedule, James says his favourite part of his job is to mentor younger apprentices and share his knowledge with the up-and-coming carpenters.  

“With the guidance of his employer CRK Tradings, James has been able to build his confidence in many aspects of his work,” said the judges. 

Looking to the future, James says he’s determined to advance his career and he’s currently developing his skills to build his own sole-trader business. 

MBV CEO (Interim) Michaela Lihou congratulated Toby, Isaac and James on their awards, noting the strength of this year’s nominations. 

“It’s a great accolade for the building and construction industry that we continue to see such talented apprentices building their futures with us,” she said.  

Others Ballarat apprentices nominated for the awards received a Certificate of Merit in the following trades: 

  • Bricklaying/Blocklaying 
  • Carpentry 
  • Glass and Glazing 
  • Painting and Decorating 
  • Roof Tiling 
  • Wall and Ceiling Lining 
  • Wall and Floor Tiling 

The Ballarat winners will go on to the overall Victorian State Apprentice of the Year Awards being held at Marvel Stadium on Thursday May 11, 2023.