It all went to plan for Wanaka building apprentice Craig Burke.

The third-year apprentice at Bayview Construction won the ITM New Zealand Certified Builders (NZCB) Apprentice Challenge Central Otago competition in Cromwell on Saturday.

Six apprentices from throughout Wanaka, Queenstown and Central Otago took part in the event which is one of 20 regional finals nationwide.

One week before competition, the apprentices, ranging from those only months on the tools to those in their third year, were given plans for a children’s play fort which they then had to build from scratch on Saturday.

Eight hours later it was tools down and Mr Burke was crowned the winner.

Top bloke . . . New Zealand Certified Builders (NZCB) Apprentice Challenge Central Otago winner Craig Burke, of W naka.

Having never entered a challenge before, he was surprised to take the top spot.

‘‘I didn’t really know what to expect to be honest. Just thought I’d give it a go and see how I went,’’ he said.

‘‘It was really fun — nice to put myself out there and do something a little bit different, getting out of the comfort zone a wee bit.

‘‘It’s a good day out. It’s a long eight hours, but it’s definitely worth it — get to meet some like-minded people and see show everybody is getting on.

‘‘Yeah no, it was fun,’’ he said.

Mr Burke will now represent Central Otago at the national finals in Christchurch next month.

Baily Reid, of Build It Central, placed second, and Stefanie Panko, of CBG Quality Construction, was third.

It was Miss Panko’s second time competing and she said came into the challenge better prepared.

She encouraged other apprentices to give the competition a go.

‘‘They should definitely put themselves out there and try it — there’s so many challenges that you wouldn’t normally get pressed to do,’’ she said.

‘‘The plans get put to us but we still had to calculate roof pitches and stair pitch, different angles, cutouts for the hand holds — things that maybe your boss would normally organise or plans would already be given to you, and then having the added pressure of time to do them is a really good challenge as well.’’

Jaxon Black (2), of Cromwell, checks out one of the play forts built during the apprentice challenge in Cromwell.

NZCB industry pathways and apprenticeships manager Nick Matthews said the challenge was a way to build into the future of the industry.

‘‘Competitions like this are important because apprentices are the future of our industry.

‘‘So we need to look after them, we need to foster them, they need to be encouraged to take up carpentry and building as a trade, but overall it’s really important they get exposure to events like this because it makes them well rounded.’’

He was pleased to see a high calibre of apprentices coming through.

‘‘A fantastic bunch of young people, really high standard.

‘‘ Great to see a couple of first-year apprentices taking part — they’ll be all that much better for it next year when they come back and do it again.’’