Why did you choose a carpentry apprenticeship?
I like being creative, staying active and working with wood so carpentry is perfect for me. I enjoy building, being challenged every day and even studying the theory side of the job too. An apprenticeship allows you to gain a lot more experience than just being in a classroom. I get to meet a lot of people who are already in the industry and learn from master trades people. I definitely think it was the right decision for me – my previous job had a progression route, but it wasn’t anything that really interested me.
What qualification are you studying towards?
I’m currently studying for a Level 3 NVQ and diploma in site carpentry at Coleg Y Cymoedd, Ystrad Mynach campus. I’m also studying a Level 1 Diploma in Plumbing in the evenings. I find balancing my apprenticeships with college and my personal life OK. My partner is studying at the moment too, so in the evenings she’s my study buddy. I still manage to do all the things I enjoy doing alongside my apprenticeship.
What have you learnt since becoming an apprentice?
Lots of carpentry skills, obviously, but also health and safety, team work and even a little bit of site management. I use a lot of my own initiative, communication skills and maths (I’m always measuring something!). I’ve also been trusted with more responsibilities than I’d expect as an apprentice such as management duties which have involved doing listings for missing parts, meeting clients and giving tours of the sites.
Why do you think carpenters are important to the construction industry?
I’ll be doing a job that’s always essential in any build, because everyone will always need a roof over their heads. We build the structures and other trades rely on us. I don’t think we will ever be replaced by machines!
What contractors have you worked with during your apprenticeship so far?
I’ve been with Willis Construction for my whole apprenticeship so far, but I have been moved from being on site to being a part of their insurance team. It’s been great to see how the different teams work within the company.
What would you say to somebody interested in applying for an apprenticeship?
Get it done before you’re too old! If I could give my younger self a piece of advice, it would be to do my apprenticeship when I was 16.
How does it feel to be in the running for the FMB Cymru Apprentice of the Year award?
It’s a good accomplishment. It feels great to be recognised by my peers for the hard work I’ve been doing, and it will be good publicity for me for when my apprenticeship is over. If I win, I’ll take my partner out for food. I may even treat myself to a new Jigsaw.
If you could invite anybody to dinner, who would it be and why?
Arnold Schwarzenegger – he’s a great businessman. I’d ask him about 1000 questions and would sit and listen to him for hours.