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Cabinet Maker George Callow celebrates as he gets Gold at the Skills Olympics in Lipzig

Young Cabinet Maker George Callow celebrates as he gets Gold at the Skills Olympics in Lipzig (picture from the Telegraph – click to see their article)

You may not have heard of the skills Olympics which was held in Lipzig earlier this month, but the awards are a great celebration of traditional skills which is something we like to promote.

George Callow is only 21 but he comes from a line of cabinet makers. In fact he used his grandfather’s tools to build the bureau that won him the gold award for the Best Young Cabinet Maker, beating entrants from 23 other countries for the title.

George comes from Chichester in West Sussex and he was one of 33 other apprentices who formed Team UK. Incidentally he was also named Best of Nation beating the other 32 to the title.

 “I always knew I wanted to go into woodwork. Ever since I was a kid. Now I’d like to start my own furniture company.” Best of Nation award and Gold Medal winner George Callow

Another British star was 21-year-old Ashley Terron, a bricklayer from Warrington. He won a gold medal and he also gained a record points total in the process. What is great to note is that he now boasts to his mates that he is “The World’s Best Brickie”.

“I’m the world’s best brickie and that’s amazing. I’ve learnt a lot from my dad and brother and the three-year apprenticeship, and hopefully this will lead on to other things, maybe working abroad or setting up my own company.” Gold Medal winning Ashley Terron

Ashley also has a family history in related skills, in fact he is the third generation of a building family, which includes his great grandfather, father and his elder brother. He relates how his headmaster tried to dissuade him from entering the trade because he though he was too bright to waste his time laying bricks.

There were entries from over 1,000 apprentices coming from 54 countries taking part in the Skills Olympics. The event, which lasted for four days, judged skills in 40 different disciplines. Team UK won 23 awards in the event.

 “They are heroes and heroines, each and every one of them.” Ann Watson, managing director of skills organisation EAL which supported Team UK

The two young men we have featured are two shining examples of great practices surviving in the construction and traditional crafts industries, and they can be justifiably proud of their accolades. Perhaps we should concentrate more on encouraging young people to excel in these trades, rather than constantly pressuring young people to achieve academically and criticising those who cannot find jobs. If you like this story you might also like to read our interview with the founder of Apprentice-Ship, Samuel James Wilson, who is passionate about bricklaying too.

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