The North East awards are one of five divisions of Master Builders Victoria’s Regional Apprentice awards that are celebrated across Victoria each year, including the Gippsland, Bendigo, Ballarat and South East regions.

Ethan Slater from Shepparton was awarded the North East Chairperson’s Award at a celebration on Tuesday, February 20 at the Wangaratta Performing Arts and Convention Centre which was attended by 185 guests.

Employed by Total Plaster Supplies and nominated by Sunraysia Institute of TAFE, the judges in this year’s awards said Ethan who is a 4th year Wall and Ceiling Lining apprentice showed a genuine love of learning his craft and learning to expand his capabilities.

“Ethan prides himself on completing each year of his apprenticeship and is so proud that he’s continuing to learn and develop. He’s a great example to other apprentices!”

Third year Carpentry apprentice Fraser McCarty from Kialla took home the North East Apprentice of the Year – Developing Builder Award.

Nominated by his training provider, Murray Mallee Training Company and employed by Rikys & Moyland, the judges described Fraser as a strong performer with both his bookwork and his practical work.

“Fraser fell in love with carpentry from a young age and was inspired to become a builder. Now he enjoys leading younger apprentices and hopes to continue to share his passion.”

The final award of the night, the North East Apprentice of the Year – Structural Trades Award – was awarded to Phillip Robichaud, a 4th year Carpentry apprentice from Porepunkah.

Phillip is employed by JH Building and Design and was nominated for the award by the Murray Mallee Training Company.

The judges noted that Phillip came to his carpentry apprenticeship after ten years of a skiing and biking career, when he decided he wanted to be doing something more ‘hands on’.

“With a strong eye for detail, Phillip loves the variety of his work and problem solving to overcome obstacles, alongside his co-workers. He’s proven himself to be a trustworthy tradesperson directing job sites day to day.”

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.

Master Builders Victoria CEO, Michaela Lihou congratulated Ethan, Fraser and Phillip on their awards, noting the strength of this year’s nominations.

“We have some remarkable apprentices coming through in our industry and their enthusiasm and passion for their work is really inspiring. My sincerest congratulations to all of the nominees and the winners for everything they bring to the building and construction industry,” she said.

The North East apprentice award winners will now go on to the overall Victorian State Apprentice of the Year Awards being held at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on Thursday, May 9, 2024.