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Hammer and gongs

Hammer and gongs

Pictured from left are Worldskills medallists Matty Hull and Andrew Condon, with UCOL Carpentry Lecturers Matt Cassells and Dave Freebairn.

Apprentice builders Matty Hull and Andrew Condon have upheld a UCOL tradition by winning respective gold and silver medals in the Carpentry category of the recent national Worldskills competitions in Hamilton.

This is only the second time UCOL has entered Carpentry apprentices in the hotly contested Worldskills event - and they have won both times. Andrew Watson brought home gold in 2010.

The pair attends UCOL block courses as part of their apprenticeship training.

Although both under the Central North Island banner, Matty represented the Tararua district where he works for Brent Dickson Building in Eketahuna; Andrew represented Hawkes Bay and works for Grant Linnell Builder.

There were only two points between them, with Matty scoring 77 out of a possible 100, and Andrew scoring 75.

During their two day carpentry challenge, the 19 year olds had to build a structure to scale from the plans supplied. “It was pretty intense,” says Andrew. “It took as long to do all the calculations to get the angles right, as it did to actually build it.”

The 2 metre high structure required the framing for the walls and the roof to be meticulously measured and constructed, then clad perfectly with plywood.

The contestants were allocated the timber required to complete the job and were penalised points for second cuts or using more than the allocated materials.

UCOL Carpentry Lecturer Matt Cassells, who was present as an invited judge, says the two performed really well under pressure. “Especially when we [judges] changed some of the plan specs on the day – there is always a curve ball thrown in to really test the competitors.”

Matty and Andrew are pretty good mates despite their rivalry in carpentry competitions. The pair scored first and second (in the same order) at the Certified Builders Carpentry Apprentice Challenge at UCOL in March.

UCOL Carpentry lecturer Dave Freebairn says both Matty and Andrew were pretty low key about their placings in the hard fought National competition. “When I asked them how they did, Andrew shrugged and said “pretty well”.

Matty is anticipating the call up for New Zealand’s Tool Blacks team who will compete in the biennial Worldskills in Sao Paulo, Brazil in mid-August 2015.

“There is an interview process,” says Matt Cassells. “They usually select the winner of each category to join the Tool Blacks. Only one competitor can represent each category, so we will have to wait and see who makes the team. I hope that both Matty and Andrew will be able to compete at the Oceania event in April.”

As the next stage of Worldskills competition, the Oceania event in Hamilton gives eight national teams the chance to test their ‘match fitness’.

Both Matty and Andrew have a year remaining on their apprenticeships. They have recently finished their classroom sessions at the Palmerston North campus, and have a few on site assessments before completing their UCOL block course.

“Matty and Andrew are a credit to their employers who have backed them 100 per cent,” says Dave Freebairn. “We’d like to think our carpentry training here at UCOL had quite a bit to do with their success too!”


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