Get ready for the Toolbox Challenge!

The Toolbox Challenge is a nationwide engineering and furniture competition designed to build excitement around trade-based subjects. The competition complements the national curriculum, and is a fun way for students to work towards unit standards while gaining exposure to an industry- based challenge.

Competition overview

The Toolbox Challenge is open to all schools that offer engineering and / or furniture subjects in years 11 to 13. The website is a platform for students to share their progress with other entrants from around New Zealand. Participation gives students the opportunity to win spot prizes. The project is to be completed in the classroom as independently as possible. Schools select one representative project from each category to be judged at a national level by Competenz. Finalists will be judged against other schools by industry professionals and a public vote. There are $10,000 worth of prizes to be won for students and schools including tools and equipment.

How to enter

Schools may enter in either or both categories


  • Students must design and build a piece of furniture
  • To be no larger than 1 cubic metre
  • Must include 2 types of materials (1 must be wood)
  • Can use any type of wood and other relevant materials


  • Project to be decided by the teacher and student.
  • Must not exceed 0.5 cubic metres
  • Use any type of material

Recommended unit standards


Unit Description
14995 Construct free-hand drawings for use in furniture making
Recognise and confirm job specifications
Calculate length, areas, and costs and percentages of waste for furniture making
Construct a furniture carcase
Use and maintain hand tools for use for furniture making
Operate a straight cutting saw to cut square profiled furniture components


Unit Description
Develop a simple product using engineering materials
Manually produce and interpret engineering sketches under supervision
Create three-dimensional engineering models under supervision

Judging process

Step 1:

Using the Competenz judging criteria, you will judge finished projects and select one student from each category to represent your school.Finalists will be submitted to Competenz in a video portfolio.

Step 2:

A team of industry professionals will judge the projects to determine an overall winner. An online public vote will establish the people’s choice winner. The year level of the student will be taken into account when judging the finished pieces.


  • Working drawings
  • Machining skills
  • Assembly skills
  • Creativity
  • Degree of difficulty/complexity
  • Overall finished project
  • Does the project meet all of the specifications and criteria?


Finalists are to be submitted to Competenz in a video portfolio format. The video can be as creative as possible and 90 seconds maximum. The purpose is to showcase the finished project in detail, and its functionalities. Mobile phone recording is acceptable.