Despite being knocked back more than 50 times when she applied for an apprenticeship, Burnley mum Perin Breakell was determined to forge a career as a carpenter, and last night took home Victoria’s top award as the 2024 State Apprentice of the Year.

Now a fourth year Carpentry apprentice employed by Craft Build Homes and attending Chisholm Institute of TAFE, Perin is loving her apprenticeship where she champions a strong and positive culture on the worksite and hopes to eventually step into a training role.

“I am so thrilled to receive this recognition, I just can’t believe it!,” she said. “And I’m also really excited for the day that my son can go to school and tell his mates that his Mum is officially a chippy!”

More than 700 people turned out last night at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne to celebrate the achievements of Victoria’s finest building and construction apprentices at the 2024 Victorian Apprentice of the Year Awards, which attracted 160 nominations, the largest number in MBV’s history. 

In front of hundreds of their fellow apprentices, training providers, employers and families, six metropolitan apprentices were formally recognised for their outstanding skills and commitment to the industry, joining five category winners from across regional Victoria who received their awards at events through February and March 2024. 

Last night, the Regional and Metropolitan winners went head to head to finally reveal the six State Apprentice Award winners and then the major award of the 2024 State Apprentice of the Year, with Perin taking out the top accolade, and also being recognized with the State Apprentice of the Year – Developing Leader Award.

“It’s been quite a night and I want to say a huge congratulations to all of the other winners!”

MBV President Geoff Purcell said he was thrilled and heartened to see the quality and the passion of the next generation of the industry coming through, across such a broad variety of trades and skills.

“Perin is clearly a standout winner for State Apprenctice of The Year against a stellar field of contenders, and it’s terrific to also see the number of women being recognised as both nominees and winners,” said Mr Purcell. 

“And despite the significant challenges that our building and construction industry continues to face right across Australia, it’s great to see these really committed apprentices of all ages, who can see their future in our industry,” he said.

“We applaud them all and hope that we can attract even more people – from all backgrounds – to an industry crying out for skilled workers!”

MBV CEO Michaela Lihou paid tribute to the employers, training providers and families supporting the apprentices on their career journey.

“Without their ongoing encouragement and support, wisdom and patience, we wouldn’t be seeing the great achievements we’re witnessing in these apprentice awards,” she said.

At last night’s awards, Ms Lihou also announced the introduction of a new category of MBV membership for students.

“Our new Student Membership is designed to offer valuable support, training, networking, resources and discounts tailored to students with aspirations of joining the building and construction industry,” she said.

“We recognise that investing in the development of our apprentices is essential and we are committed to providing support and resources to ensure apprentices receive the necessary training and guidance to become future leaders in our industry.”

“I want to encourage all apprentices to take advantage of this opportunity and I’m delighted to report that we’ve already seen a number sign up!”

Last night’s State Award winners included:

  • President’s Award – Daniel Currie
    Employed by LNX Constructions and nominated by Victoria University

  • Apprentice of The Year - Future Builder Award – Dale Harris
    Employed by Len Pyle and nominated by TAFE Gippsland

  • Apprentice of The Year – Developing Leader Award – Perin Breakell
    Employed by Craft Built Homes and nominated by Chisholm Institute of TAFE

  • Apprentice of The Year – Craftsperson Award – Alec Smith
    Employed by Building Skills Centre and nominated by Building Skills Centre

  • Apprentice of The Year – Structural & Finishing Trades Award – Matilda Ould
    Employed by SC Weir Cabinets and nominated by Chisholm Institute of TAFE

  • Apprentice of the Year – Junior Apprentice Award – Mikeely Dell
    Employed by OPAT and nominated by Holmesglen Institute of TAFE

Along with the individual apprentice awards, boutique residential home builder Lonsdale Building Group was recognised for its ongoing commitment to developing apprentices, winning the Brian Fitmaurice Memorial Award.

The awards were sponsored by:

  • Apprenticeships Victoria
  • Australian Gas Networks
  • Bosch
  • Cbus Super
  • DeWalt and Irwin
  • ELWD Workwear
  • Foundation Technologies Australia
  • Incolink
  • Steel Blue
  • Victoran Building Authority

A full list of the winners in the 2024 Master Builders State Apprentice of The Year Awards can be found on

Media enquiries – Leigh McClusky 0411 711 780