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UCOL graduate wins national recognition

UCOL graduate wins national recognition

UCOL graduate Rowan Dicks is just one year into his wood manufacturing apprenticeship, and already his work has won national recognition.

He is one of four finalists for national Trainee of the Year in a competition organised by the industry training organisation responsible for furniture. Rowan says he’s pleased to be selected and is looking forward to attending the final awards ceremony in Rotorua on 3 September.

After completing the Diploma in Furniture Design and Making (Level 5) at UCOL in Palmerston North two years ago, Rowan worked for a year with Avant Garde Interiors in Rongotea, and is now one year into his apprenticeship with the company.

He says he hadn’t really thought too much about entering, until his apprenticeship assessor twisted his arm. “He travels all around the North Island working with apprentices, and knows my work. He thought it would be worthwhile for me to enter.”

The uniqueness of Rowan’s entry was one of the stand-out features praised by the judges. He describes it as “a jewellery box made from 100 percent recycled timber that is weathered so the wood looks very old. It stands independently, so it won’t get cluttered on your dresser.”

The jewellery box took 50 hours to complete outside work hours within one month, and Rowan was able to use the UCOL workshops to finish his piece. He says he loved studying at UCOL, and the diploma taught him to develop his creative design abilities to make truly individual finely crafted bespoke furniture.

UCOL Furniture Design and Making Lecturer Andy Halewood says Rowan Dicks is a name to watch in the future of New Zealand furniture design. “It is great to see our graduates receive recognition. It’s quite special that they can not only design, but skilfully make beautiful pieces of furniture also.”


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