Gold medal winning apprentice shares the secret of his success

Apprenticeships - Jack Chambers

Joinery apprentice, 18 year old, Jack Chambers beat the best of the best to bring home the gold medal in joinery from the Worldskills UK competition recently. He says that mixing college study and his apprenticeship at Pennine Woodworking in Bradwell gave him the skills he needed to succeed and could help him compete internationally in Abu Dhabi in 2017. 

The Worldskills UK competition is designed to showcase and celebrate the vocational talents of students and apprentices from colleges and industry from across the country and in a range of disciplines. Entry to the competition is gained by successfully showcasing skills at regional competitions. When Jack won Skillbuild for the midlands region he was surprised but delighted to win a spot on the national competition representing Chesterfield College. 

Jack’s passion for a career in joinery started when he was working for a builder. He decided to study the subject at college for a year at the same time as getting some work experience with the company he is now an apprentice for.  Jack thinks the secret of his success is getting a year of college study under his belt before moving on to an apprenticeship where he has developed his medal winning skills.

He told us; “It was a really proud moment when I won gold at the Worldskills competition. Up until I heard my name, I didn’t believe I would be in with a chance but looking back now I can see how the training I had at college and the work I do every day as part of my apprenticeship gave me a strong advantage.

“In competitions like this you need to be able to work to tight deadlines and to a specific brief. Working in the trade and delivering to customer specifications is similar. Often the work we produce, including bespoke doors, windows and stairs, is part of a bigger refurbishment project and it can be critical to get them completed on time. I think this helps to focus your mind. Working with wood on commercial projects as part of my apprenticeship has taught me things I couldn’t have learnt in a classroom so I know I put these skills to good use in the competition.

“When I left school I knew I would end up doing a hands-on job but I had no idea that learning a trade through studying at college and doing an apprenticeship would give me the chance to compete at an international level. It has given me a brilliant opportunity to prove what I can do and it has helped me to better at the job I do everyday too. ”

To find out more about apprenticeships with Learning Unlimited, part of the Chesterfield College group visit