Jens-Peter Vestergaard is a great example of how hard work and commitment to the opportunities presented by WorldSkills, can take a young bricklaying apprentice anywhere.
Two years ago Jens-Peter won the Danish National Bricklaying competition in Copenhagen and went on to win Silver last year in the international competition in Sao Paulo, alongside Australian Sam Spong who brought home Bronze. Like the Aussies international experience, the Danes have a great record at WorldSkills, having won numerous medals in the international competition including a Gold, won by Nicolai Asmussen in London in 2011, when Lester Tibbles won Bronze for Australian bricklaying.
As the current Danish Bricklaying Champion, you can image Jens-Peter (or JP as he’s becoming known here) is a highly focussed competitor. His precision in building extremely technical brickwork in very tight timeframes was his secret weapon at Brazil. Because Australia’s reputation for skilled bricklaying is very strong overseas, JP had a desire to come to Australia and lay bricks.
There are many differences between the two countries and this is evident in the type of trowels used in Denmark compared to Australia, as pictured below in this blog. The actual laying of the brick is vastly different too. There is no buttering of the brick and so the cross joint is formed and field by the way the brick is landed. The bricks are much shorter in height and so this method does work in Denmark but would not work with Australian bricks. The mortar is also much more granular and the sand has less clay in it and so the mortar is less ‘fatty’. Danish Brick Sizes
Having arrived in Sydney in late February, JP has been honing his skills at Wollongong TAFE where he has adapted well to the different style of bricklaying. Shortly he will be starting work with City Bricklaying on a commercial project in the Sutherland Shire. Although the techniques, trowels and materials are vastly different, there are still many skills that are transferrable which is helping him adapt quite quickly. JP has also agreed to help the Australian competitor Trystan Sammut with some advice for when he competes in Abu Dhabi in October this year. Thanks JP!
Many WorldSkills competitors use the networks to travel, work and learn new skills while enjoying a great experience and JP is an example of this. So, I’d advise all apprentices to give thought to entering their Regional WorldSkills competition. There’s lots of information here on this website, but also go to www.worldskills.org.au and make an enquiry. You never know where it might take you!
JP is also helping Troy Everett out by speaking to some lucky apprentices on the benefits of participating in WorldSkills. Great work guys.
ABBTF NSW Manager