They did it! Seven Masterlink Apprentice Outward Bound Scholarship winners have successfully completed their 16-day leadership course at Anakiwa in the Marlborough Sounds. They share their experiences.

Since 2007, Outward Bound has been providing outdoor adventure experiences to the construction sector, with the wild and wonderful Marlborough Sounds as backdrop.

This year’s BETA Outward Bound course took place from 5-20 July, with seven Masterlink apprentices teaming up with other construction industry trainees from around the country to take on the unforgettable challenge.

Designed to test each apprentice mentally and physically to grow their self-awareness, self-belief and leadership ability, the 16-day course saw the group trying their hands at coasteering, waka ama, high ropes, kayaking, camping, hiking, sailing and a solo experience in the bush.

Outward Bound 2022 tramping

Seven Masterlink apprentices took part in the 2022 course, thanks to Masterlink Outward Bound Scholarships, sponsored by Methven Caroma:

  • Basil Carpenter – McDermond Plumbing, Auckland
  • Sebastian Sekene – Heron Plumbing, Auckland
  • Brendan Wood – Plumbing & Gas Works, Hamilton
  • Maria Contreras Huerta – Morrinsville Plumbing & Gas, Waikato
  • Nathan Smith – Hamilton Plumbing
  • Thomas Gadsbey – The Drainage Department, Mt Maunganui
  • Troy Haronga – Laser Plumbing Manawatu, Feilding

From dealing with wet weather for much of the trip, to being pushed to their limits in every way possible, all seven agree it was a trip of a lifetime — filled with lessons and practical skills they are excited to apply to their workplaces, future careers, and home life.

For Sebastian, 21, who is halfway through his plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying apprenticeship, completing the Outward Bound course not only taught him how far he could push his body and mind but also just how important the relationships in his life are to him.

“I’ve never spent that much time away from anyone back home and especially without any communication for 16 days, so that was an extra hurdle,” he says.

While he’s eager to get back into his apprenticeship and finish his last two years, he’s now also looking forward to prioritising his family more and maintaining a better balance in his life.

“My time at Outward Bound was one of the most refreshing but also challenging times I’ve experienced. I’ve learnt to live in the moment more and that there are important people in my life that I need to make time for.”

Outward Bound 2022 kayaking

The toughest moments?

From navigating a 32-foot gaff rigged sailing cutter in the rain for days, to going bush solo, Basil, Maria, and Tommy reflect on the hardest parts of the 16 days:

Basil – “We had to sleep on the cutter with no cabin for the first night, and for the second night we had to set up our tents in the rain. On the last day we had to row 25km home in the rain. That was one of the hardest challenges I have had to face in my life.”

Maria – “I was on the cutter with my teammates, there was no wind in sight, and I was soaking wet and freezing cold. I didn’t give up, I pushed past my limits, and we rowed until there was no sun in sight. But we did it with a smile on our faces and happy spirits.”

Tommy – “The solo camp for two nights was the hardest part for me. We got dropped off at night to individual camps and we had to stay there for two nights. I found the boredom challenging because we weren’t allowed more than 20 steps from our bivvy the whole time!”

Life lessons learned

Brendan, Troy, and Nathan agree self-reflection was a big part of making it through the course:

Brendan – “I learnt the importance of teamwork and how you can push your boundaries further than you previously knew you could.”

Troy – “I learnt that there are so many distractions in life that can lead us off course. Sometimes a walk in the forest alone can be grounding to finding self-direction.”

Nathan – “I learnt about self-care and looking after my mind as well as my body.”

Masterlink Outward Bound 2022_7x5

Touch down. Successful Masterlink apprentices. Home bound after epic mental, physical and soul seeking challenges. Outward Bound completed.

- Masterlink apprentice Troy Haronga at the end of the BETA Outward Bound course


Masterlink would like to thank Methven Caroma for sponsoring the 2022 Outward Bound Scholarship and investing in nurturing great young leaders in this plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying apprentice programme.

“The next generation are our greatest resource,” says Matt Jones, Head of Marketing at Methven Caroma. “It is our hope that through our partnership with Masterlink on the Outward Bound programme, we will help to develop successful plumbing industry leaders of the future.

“Outward Bound provides a gold standard experience that sets participants up for life, teaching them about communication, collaboration, and teamwork–all skills needed to be successful on both a professional and personal level.”

Masterlink also gives huge thanks to the host businesses who released their apprentices to go on the course.

This article, written by Lois Odlehaver, first appeared in NZ Plumber magazine Aug-Sep 2022