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Staff at Alice Springsbased S&R Building and Construction were ecstatic when they won the major trophy at the HIA NT Housing and Kitchen & Bathroom Awards last year.

They strongly believe that the home in Durack Heights, Palmerston, deserved to be named HIA Northern Territory Home of the Year.

Judges described the modern, singlestorey house as “generous”, featuring a welcoming entry, beautiful highraked ceilings, and ample natural light and ventilation.

S&R owners Marc Renshaw and Krissy Mossman say the HIA award has increased “recognition and respect” from their peers in the industry.

“It was our first project together while trying to run a business, juggle our blended family of five, and work between Alice Springs and Darwin,” says Krissy. “To finish this build with so many other conflicting pressures and priorities was very satisfying.

“Having our apprentices work on our house to see what is achievable with hard work, skill and dedication has shown them what is possible for them to achieve.

“To be working for an award-winning builder keeps their passion for what they do and excited for the next build project.” The HIA NT Housing and Kitchen & Bathroom Awards are hotly contested by the home-building industry.

The organisation is a registered training organisation and oversees trades training in block releases.

Encouragingly, the number of apprentices being trained by the association has grown from 20 to 95 in the past three years.

Mitchell Manktelow, who works for Darwin-based Xtreme Build, was named NT Apprentice of the Year in 2023.

Despite only being 17, he is in his third year as an apprentice carpenter and is enjoying his training with HIA.

“There’s plenty of good practical work,” he says.

Mitchell was shocked and delighted to win the HIA award.

“I wasn’t expecting it, especially as I was the youngest bloke there.”

Kiana Villaflor, who works for WTD Constructions, is in her fourthyear apprenticeship as a carpenter.

She says: “My training at HIA is a lot of school work, so I struggle a bit, but I get great support and that is helping me get through it.”

Kiana, 20, says “times are changing” but that it’s still unusual for women to work in the construction industry.


Stavros Kazouris, who is in the third year of his apprenticeship with Darwin-based Invision NT, says his training at HIA and onsite is going well.

“I’ve got good teachers,” he says

Stavros, who was runner-up in the VET in Schools Student of the Year at the NT Training Awards two years ago, started through a VET in Schools program at O’Loughlin College by doing a Certificate I in Construction, Certificate II in Construction and school-based apprenticeship.

He is now studying for a Certificate III in Carpentry.

“My ambition is to finish my apprenticeship, build up my skills and then start my own business,” he says.

“I come from a construction family and have always wanted to be a builder. I wanted to leave school so many times but was persuaded to stay on to do the VET course.

“I couldn’t imagine myself stuck in an office.”


Entries for the 2024 HIA awards are now open. There are 16 categories. Details at

The Housing Industry Association represents the residential building trade, one of the key drivers of the Northern Territory economy.

It operates offices in 22 centres around the nation, including the Territory, providing a wide range of advocacy, business support services and products for members.

NT home builders have had a tough time over the past few years because of covid and the rising cost of materials.

Territory Housing Industry Association executive director Luis Espinoza says the home-building industry suffers from a shortage of skilled workers.

“There aren’t enough young people coming through apprenticeships,” he says. “We need to fill the gap in traditional trades, such as carpentry, electrical and plumbing.”

Mr Espinoza, a qualified building designer, says the Territory and Federal governments need to maintain, and even increase, their support for employers taking on apprentices.

“There needs to be good incentives for employers to train young people.

“It must be remembered that for the first couple of years apprentices need a lot of supervision. Many Territory building companies are small, so it’s difficult for the boss to take time out to train apprentices.

“We’ve got to change our mentality about training. University isn’t for everyone. Trades offer well-paid, fulfilling, secure jobs.

“Once tradies have qualified they can literally decide how hard they want to work and how much money they want to make.

“It’s a great industry.” The association’s training program includes working with juvenile offenders.