Jacob Wade aged 23 years, 4th year bricklaying apprentice,of Lismore, winner of the Golden Trowel Award. Photo Contributed
Jacob Wade aged 23 years, 4th year bricklaying apprentice,of Lismore, winner of the Golden Trowel Award. Photo Contributed Contributed

Golden reward for expert apprentice bricklayer

BRICKLAYING is one of the most physical trades there is, but that didn't stop Lismore apprentice Jacob Wade pushing the limits in a 12 hour challenge to win the Golden Trowel as Australia's best.  

The 23-year-old fourth year apprentice was nominated by his Coffs Harbour Tafe teacher Paul Venn to compete against 11 teams of two for the coveted title last week.  

Nominated for competition

"I was enrolled doing my third year at Tafe and Paul was allowed to nominate two students to compete in the Golden Trowel," he said.  

"Paul told me I could look forward to the Golden Trowel because I do a lot of block work at work and the other boys don't do as much.  

"He picked me and fellow student Michael Boner, who had just gone into third year at Tafe."  

Jacob has worked for Bob Jarrett at RJ and CM Jarrett Bricklaying during his apprenticeship.  

"Bob's been great, I couldn't ask for a better boss and I wouldn't want to work for anyone else," he said.  

"In the future I would like to own my own bricklaying business."  

Long 12 hour job

The two apprentices headed to the Illawarra Tafe at Wollongong last week to take on Australia's best young bricklayers.  

"Each team was given the same plan for a block wall and we had 12 hours to build that," he said.  

"We had to do two inclined ramps with block mitres, with a set of steps in between that with paving for the capping of the steps, and behind that was a feature block wall with a trowel through it so we had to cut the trowel into it."  

The young gun said they needed all of the 12 hours to complete the challenge, but they never gave up hope of doing well.  

"We went right down to the last five minutes before we had to put tools down, then we sponged it and cleaned it up," he said.  

"I didn't think we would win it but I thought we were in the running for it."  

Bowling then presentation

While each of the 11 teams work was judged, competitors went bowling before attending a gala presentation dinner at the Novotel Wollongong, where he was shocked.  

"We had a big dinner with a bunch of CEOs and executives from Tafe," he said.  

"I was half way through a big clap thinking that it's not us, so I went to clap and he said Coffs Harbour.

"My jaw just dropped; I was pretty stoked about it.  

"My partner Michael who went with me is going to the national world skills titles and if he wins that he can go to the international titles."  

Winners are grinners

For winning the title, Jacob and Michael were presented a Golden Trowel trophy each.  

Despite the recognition, a modest Jacob was reluctant to be called the best apprentice bricklayer in Australia.  

"I wouldn't put bets on myself," he laughed.  

"But I suppose you can say that."  



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