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2019 HIA Jim Brookes Australian Apprentice

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NSW apprentice Thomas Payton has been awarded the prestigious 2019 HIA Jim Brookes Australian Apprentice for his excellent work ethic.

NSW apprentice Thomas Payton has edged out his peers from around the country and emerged as the top Australian apprentice, after taking out the 2019 HIA Jim Brookes Australian Apprentice award.

The gong was announced at the 2019 HIA–CSR Australian Housing Awards ceremony in Perth on 25 May in front of hundreds of industry leaders from the Australian residential building community.

The fourth-year carpentry apprentice, hosted by JMP Building, has been praised by his host Jacob Pullan for his strong work ethic and 'can-do' attitude, which encourages similar attributes in his colleagues. 

'Thomas openly seeks assistance and builds upon constructive criticism, a quality that is hard to find,' Jacob says, adding that his ability is often years above his training level. 'He is growing into a highly competent tradesman.'

The 22-year-old says he has worked on jobs involving all aspects of residential carpentry, from the ground up to framing and roofing, and more recently has been challenged by the fast pace of commercial building.

'I have really enjoyed the team work involved with working with the other trades to get these builds [completed] in such a short time,' Thomas says. 'I've learnt a lot in my time as an apprentice. There's always something new, and I try to learn as much as I can.'

Thomas says he hopes to complete his Certificate IV in Building and Construction later in the year.

The HIA Jim Brookes Australian Apprentice award was named after Jim Brookes, an avid supporter of young people and their training in the industry, who worked with James Hardie in supporting the HIA Training Foundation while it was active. 

2019 HIA Jim Brookes Australian Apprentice


  • ACT/Southern NSW: Thomas O’Rafferty
  • Hunter: Jack Dunn 
  • North Queensland: Clancy Kersh
  • Northern Territory: Darren O’Brien 
  • Queensland: Mark (Dougie) Newham
  • South Australia: Daniel Ridley 
  • Tasmania: Ashley Brooks
  • Victoria: Joseph Waters
  • Western Australia: Roan Spence 

2019 HIA Jim Brookes Australian Apprentice sponsor

2019 HIA Jim Brookes Australian Apprentice sponsor