Romsey tradie James Horvat has taken out the road and water Victorian Apprentice of the Year award.
Mr Horvath said he was in the car with his partner when he heard that he had been selected as the winner from one of six finalists at the Civil Contractors Federation awards evening.
“It was a bit of a bummer that we couldn’t do the awards night in person. There was a livestream [of the event] but I couldn’t get it to work on my phone. And then after I got a call saying I’d won,” Mr Horvath said.
“I was absolutely stoked.”
Now working for civil construction company Newnham Earthmovers, Mr Horvath said he stumbled upon the career by chance.
After finishing year 12 in 2017, Mr Horvath took a gap year with the intention of picking up physiotherapy. During that time, labourers came to his home to pour concrete in their driveway.
Mr Horvath said he struck up a conversation with the tradesperson out of curiosity.
“He told me to give it a shot, he said I might get a year of work out of it,” Mr Horvath said.
“I’d never done anything trade related before. I’ve loved working outdoors, constantly learning outdoors and now I’m working with some great people.
“I think the end goal is to be running my own jobs. For now, I just want to keep working with Newnham and see where it takes me.”