One of the UK’s most talented woodworking apprentices, Jon Nuttall, is celebrating after clinching third place in the nationwide W Challenge competition at Birmingham’s NEC. My fathers heart apprentice Jon, shares here what this means to him and how he held his nerve during the four-day event earlier this month.
It was an amazing experience to secure a place in the national W Challenge finals, but I didn’t quite expect to have to compete in front of crowds of 8,000! However, as I’ve been training in woodworking and cabinet-making for nearly four years I felt ready to take it on.
I’d already had a taste of what it was like to compete in this industry – having been entered into regional heats at North Lancs Training Group in Accrington. This was following my outstanding coursework and my training advisor having confidence in the quality of my work. That was a two-day event in which four apprentices each had to make a door. After finishing the task, I had to wait for the judges in Bristol to pick a winner, which was me!
Now for the big time...
The national final at the NEC was a four-day event with four of the country’s best apprentices (including me!) going head-to- head to create an external door from a drawing with 1mm tolerance. The door had to be curved and designed for external use which fitted a technical brief set by an independent judging panel.
The judges were looking to see if I could follow a brief, just as I would if it were from a real customer. The skills I had to demonstrate included wood machining techniques, attention to detail, problem solving, time scaling and management of projects.
This was a real challenge as I had never made anything like this before. But I felt well prepared for this because every day at my fathers heart I have to have absolute attention to detail, be completely committed to excellence at every stage of the process. And I think having a real love of cabinet making skills helps - it just gives me a real buzz everytime!
I completed the challenge and I’m really delighted to have won third place in the country. I feel very proud and I’m glad to have had that experience, it was fantastic.
So I’m adding that to my CV along with being qualified to Level 2 cabinet making, and have almost completed my Level 3. I’m looking forward to gaining more experience in cabinet making and continuing to help set the very high standards shown at my fathers heart.