Bricklaying’s National WorldSkills Winner had Never Laid a Pressed Brick Before!

WorldSkills 2012 Winner Todd Richards beside his winning projects landing pageA mighty battle was fought for the National title this weekend in Sydney with the victorious Gold Medal winner Todd Richards from Mackay Qld, never having once laid pressed clay bricks used for the National competition.

North of Rockhampton, about 90% of masonry construction is in concrete block and the remainder in wire cut clay bricks, rather than the full pressed brick.

Silver Medallist in the competition was young Alan Ramsden, just turning 18 years, from Perth, WA – suggesting many more successes in this competition may well come in the future.

Matthew Barratt, 22 years, from Hobart in Tasmania won the Bronze Medal, continuing a family tradition of great competition performers and cementing a great WorldSkills event as the runner up in the Gun Trowel.  We hope to report on all three winners soon to hear their impressions on the event in a future blog.

todd richards in action landing pageFrom the first brick laid to the final call of ‘tools down’ all 13 apprentices demonstrated why they are the best from around Australia.  Students and trainers had spent endless hours over the past few months preparing for the event.

Amazingly all the apprentices demonstrated a different style and approach to constructing the projects.  This alone made it a really interesting spectator event.

As Troy Everett predicted at the outset, the project was challenging and it was clear that the young apprentices were feeling the pressure of competition and the scrutiny from Judges and onlookers.  However, well-honed skills were on show – they all looked like ‘naturals’ as they buttered, placed and tapped bricks into place with the precision and efficiency of a craftsman.

silver-medallist-alan-ramsden-landing-pageAt the Wednesday night ABBTF industry event preceding WorldSkills it was fantastic to see the who’s who of the industry.  For, example, for the first time in one room together we were honoured to have the last three International WorldSkills Bricklaying competitors in Tim Hambly (2007), Nigel Croke (2009) and Lester Tibbles (2011).

For the full Honour Roll click here.

It was an excellent night of re-connecting with old mates, making new contacts and reflecting on the achievements and challenges facing our industry.

Never missing an opportunity to promote the trade to new prospects, ABBTF conducted a Try-a-Trade near the bricklaying competition area over the three days of the competition.

It was a great success with school students and others having the opportunity to lay a brick with past International WorldSkills Bronze winner Nigel Croke.

Geoff Noble,
General Manager, ABBTF


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