Constructive: Apprentices Andrew Ensbey, Justin Brown with boss Peter Lynch.
Constructive: Apprentices Andrew Ensbey, Justin Brown with boss Peter Lynch.

Apprentices nail competition

JUST like many 18-year-olds, building apprentices Andrew Ensbey and Justin Brown don’t like big-noting themselves too much – at least to the passing observer.

But with a gold and a silver medal under their belts at the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers WorldSkills Competition earlier this month it is hard to deny the skill of these lads – especially considering it was their idea to compete in the first place.

Though there was little separating the two at the Coffs Harbour event, only Andrew, the gold medal winner, was allowed to progress to the next stage of the competition – the Australian titles.

Andrew had to square off against 20 of Australia’s best young builders at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre last week.

Any builder or apprentice under the age of 23 was allowed to compete, meaning Andrew, a third-year apprentice, was competing against fully qualified tradesmen, some of whom were subcontractors in their own right.

In Coffs Harbour, the Grafton apprentices worked as a team and were given about six hours to build and stand a frame and swing a door. They competed against two other teams and ended up clear winners.

At the national titles, Andrew was given 18 hours to construct a 1500mm-wide pergola.

“I had to order the timber and provide angles – they gave us some angles but we had to work out others using our maths,” Andrew said.

Describing the challenge as “awesome”, Andrew said he learnt a great deal from the competition.

Both Andrew and Justin agreed the best part about building was the satisfaction from completing a job and working as a team.

Clearly proud of his young students, builder Peter Lynch said his son Brad mostly taught them the tricks of the trade these days.

“Brad teaches them but makes them do things for themselves so they can learn,” he said.



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