Plumbing World Scholarships awarded to five Masterlink apprentices

Friday 7th of June 2019
apprenticeships drainlaying plumbing gasfitting scholarships awards

At the New Zealand Plumbing Awards held on the Gold Coast on 31 May 2019, each winning apprentice received a trophy and a certificate, plus a $1,000 voucher from Plumbing World.

The overall Supreme Scholarship winner also won a trip to the 2019 New Zealand Plumbing Conference in Sanctuary Cove, Queensland, from 29-31 May.

Plumbing World Scholarships are awarded to outstanding Masterlink apprentices who have demonstrated diligence in their studies.

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Jesse Dodd

Jesse is a second-year plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying apprentice at Baxter and Neilson Plumbers Ltd in Invercargill. He was entered for the scholarship by his Masterlink mentor Brendan Parker, who described him as hardworking and mature beyond his 19 years.

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L to R: Ray Galt, Baxter and Neilson Plumbers  Jesse Dodd – Brendan Parker, Masterlink mentor 

“Jesse loves what he does, wants to make a real impact and has already done so with everyone he meets,” Brendan said.

A keen hockey player, hunter, tramper and surfer, Jesse recently signed up for the 10km Queenstown Marathon in November to help raise funds for mental health.

Following a report on poor mental health in construction by independent construction research organisation BRANZ, the industry has put a strong focus on addressing the issue. 

Jesse’s recognition of the need to raise awareness was to be admired, said Brendan. 

Baxter and Neilson boss Ray Galt said Jesse showed confidence, enthusiasm and an enquiring mind from day one. 

“He impressed us within two weeks of starting his apprenticeship by winning a section of the local Plumbing World Young Plumber of the Year contest against strong competition from more experienced plumbers.”


Dave Hodgson

Dave is a 23-year-old, third-year plumbing and gasfitting apprentice at The Lewis Plumbing Company in Rotorua.  His boss Jon Lewis entered him for the scholarship.

“His ability to communicate and follow through on instructions has never been a problem,” said Jon. “There are not many apprentices I would rate as highly.”

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L to R: Jan & Jon Lewis, Lewis Plumbing – Dave Hodgson and partner Dora Remmerswaal 

Dave was given a helping hand in his plumbing career choice by the branch manager of a local plumbing store.

Recognising his promise, she recommended him to The Lewis Plumbing Company as a “standout young man”.

From those early days of his apprenticeship, Dave has developed into a confident and skilful member of the team. He has an exceptionally good work ethic, a positive attitude to learning and quickly masters new challenges. 

“He goes from strength to strength and gives 100 per cent to any tasks I ask him to do,” says Jon.

Dave also now helps to coach other apprentices coming through the company.



Ben Stanley

Hastings-based, 21-year-old third-year plumbing and gasfitting apprentice Ben Stanley was nominated by boss Sean Patrick of East Coast Plumbing and Gas Ltd.

“Ben has no problem discussing customer requirements, giving sound advice and dealing with any issues as they occur,” says Sean. “Customers often ask for him by name when they call.”

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L to R: Ben Stanley – Sean Patrick, East Coast Plumbing and Gas – Bob McCoy, Masterlink mentor

A hard worker on site, Ben also puts in hours of study outside work towards his qualifications. 

As he is dyslexic, reading and writing can pose an additional challenge, but his Masterlink mentor, Bob McCoy said Ben's paperwork is excellent, so the extra effort he puts in is paying off.

Ben has been a significant contributor to developing standard operating procedures for East Coast Plumbing and Gas and developed a cost-saving, on-the-job stock tracking system which has been adopted by the firm. 

This May, Ben took first place in the Hastings branch competition of Plumbing World’s 2019 Young Plumber of the Year. He now goes forward to the regional competition in August. 



Jack Powell

Jack’s boss, Bruce Trenwith, remembers a nervous young man coming straight out of school to work at BT Plumbing and Gas in Auckland just over two years ago.

“He now exudes confidence and has the most amount of calls into the office with glowing reviews of how he is one of the best tradesmen they have had at their property,” says Bruce, who nominated him for the award.

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L to R: Richard Barnes, Plumbing World – *Bruce Trenwith, BT Plumbing and Gas – Craig Foley, Master Plumbers Chairman

Jack’s technical abilities have grown in equal measure, to the extent that he is now one of the company’s top gas servicemen.

Not one for the spotlight, Jack is the kind of tradesperson that can get overlooked for awards such as this, says Bruce.

“He is a very humble young man who doesn't cause any drama and is always willing to go the extra mile.  He will do anything and at any time to help the team and the company.”

Jack’s Masterlink regional manager Tania Forsyth has been impressed by his diligence in his studies towards his plumbing and gasfitting qualifications. 

Describing him as a “model apprentice” who is always hungry to learn, she says he is just the kind of person the plumbing industry needs.

*Jack was unable to attend the NZ Plumbing Awards in Queensland so Bruce Trenwith accepted the scholarship on his behalf.



Ben McCulloch

Ben, who works at Jackson Plumbing (Nelson) Ltd, was selected as the overall winner for showing outstanding leadership skills at the young age of 24.

Now in the fourth and final year of his apprenticeship, he takes a calm, efficient and organised approach to his work, according to his employer Grant Jackson. This, coupled with his positive nature, makes him a valued team member at the Nelson firm.

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L to R: Sam Timlin, Masterlink mentor – Ben McCulloch – Grant Jackson, Jackson Plumbing (Nelson)

“Ben is a very dependable young man showing great time-keeping skills, an eye for detail and running a very tight ship on the job, whether it’s new housing, commercial or maintenance,” said Grant.

At the start of his apprenticeship, Ben moved from Blenheim to Nelson for the job. He has embraced his new community, giving work experience to a number of Gateway students at local colleges.

Two have since taken up plumbing apprenticeships with other Nelson firms.

Ben has also been in sole charge of the Oceania Community Refurb projects, which he organised from start to finish.  He worked with junior staff and ensured that everything was completed on time without any issues.  

Jackson Plumbing constantly receives positive feedback regarding him.

As the Supreme Scholarship winner, Ben also won a trip to the 2019 New Zealand Plumbing Conference in Sanctuary Cove, Queensland, from 29-31 May, so he was able to collect his award in person.