Darren Connor Region: Ballarat/Wimmera
I am 19 and have completed my apprenticeship here in Ballarat where I live. I’m employed by Kurt Anderson of Statewide Bricklaying and I did my TAFE training at the University of Ballarat.
I got involved in the Regional competition because my trade school teachers nominated me as an outstanding student to the local WorldSkills Committee. I was then offered a position in the competition and I saw it as a good way to test my skills and gauge where I was against the other blokes from my class.
The National Competition will be full-on and stressful. In preparation I’m learning a lot of new skills and am training about 4 extra hours a week. As part of the training I’m working with my employer and with the trade school teachers, building the project we’ve been given and learning the quickest and best way to complete it for the competition.
My employer Kurt Anderson was the main influence on me during my apprenticeship. I think that he is a great bricklayer who has built a very successful business. He has taught me a lot about the industry. I also value the support and guidance provided by my trade school teachers Darren Weightman and Peter Eltringham.
Why did I choose bricklaying? I was not enjoying school and knew that I wanted to do a trade. I always knew it was the building trades but it was only after completing a Pre-Apprenticeship course that I knew bricklaying was what I wanted to do.
The part of bricklaying I enjoy most is the satisfaction of building something that other people can see and appreciate. I especially like it when I am told by a customer that they think that I have done a good job.
My hero is international road racing cyclist Lance Armstrong. He’s a pretty strong bloke – even when fighting cancer, it didn’t get him down – he came back swinging!!!
Christopher Terrill Region: Melbourne
I am 21, live in Narre Warren and have just completed my apprenticeship. My employer during the apprenticeship was my father Stephen Terrill at S Terrill & T Jones Bricklaying. My offsite training for the apprenticeship was taken at Holmesglen TAFE in Chadstone.
My TAFE teachers were the ones who approached me about WorldSkills. It immediately caught my attention as I see it as a great challenge to set myself. My main teacher at Holmesglen has helped me extensively throughout the year but I have gained so much support from the whole Department at Holmesglen.
I choose Bricklaying as it’s my dad’s trade and I fell in love with it while going to the site with him as a young child. I love the outdoors and couldn’t imagine being cooped up inside all day. Throughout my apprenticeship I have loved the feeling of accomplishment as I look back on my completed structures.
My hero is surfer Mick Fanning as no matter how hard things have been for him, he has managed to never give up and he now has a surfing ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Title to prove it.
Bradley Fellowes Region: Victoria Country
I didn’t feel stressed competing in the Regional WorldSkills and I don’t think I would at the Nationals either. When I compete, I try to keep a clear mind and do what I do best, lay bricks. Unfortunately, due to work commitments I’m now not going to be able to be at the Nationals.
I was lucky enough to work under different bricklayers and have various teachers guide me through my apprenticeship. It was my trade teachers who asked me to enter the Regional competition. I believe that by learning different things from different people it allows you to learn other ways to complete a job efficiently. If I had to pick, I have two trade school teachers that I always got good advice from and who I particularly liked: These are Colin King and Barry Walker.
I didn’t have a favourite part of the apprenticeship. I took all parts pretty seriously so I enjoyed them all equally. My apprenticeship was a great all round package. I had a lot of ups and downs but I enjoy the challenges that we face in bricklaying.
Finding a career path that suited me personally meant I tried various jobs after Year 12. I worked in office jobs as well as other trades (carpentry and cabinet making) but I found that bricklaying was the most exciting and challenging. You get to enjoy the outdoors and it requires you to pay 100% attention at all times.
My personal and work aspirations come from buildings rather than the people around me. I enjoy looking at brick work from previous generations and I admire the hard work they had to do without the luxury of the supports we have today. Simple but important things like power tools (grinders, brick saws etc.) and work safe regulations which we take for granted, didn’t exist for bricklayers in the past.