Alex Avis (26), who lives in Sandiacre, works for heritage and period property construction specialists Pete Abraham Builders in Nottingham and attends DCG’s Hudson Building once a week to work towards his qualifications in the trade.
He decided to enter the Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2022 competition to showcase how ‘late bloomers’ can flourish in the trade and has won a career-boosting prize package worth £10,000 including tools, technology and training.
Alex is originally from Chesterfield and attended Tupton Hall School where he achieved good GCSE and A Level grades. He studied History at the University of Leeds and worked in marketing until he gave up his job with his sights set on working in Australia.
The pandemic hit and he was unable to travel so, without a job and with time on his hands, he started making things for the home and garden and discovered a love for carpentry.
He said: “I was completely self-taught – watching Youtube videos – but I was getting pretty good. I was offered an apprenticeship with Pete Abraham who was keen that I get my qualifications and Derby College looked the best place to study.
“I saw something online about the Screwfix Trade Apprentice competition which celebrates emerging talent and thought I may as well apply.
“There were various rounds where we answered questions and submitted videos and ten of us reached the final with two days of virtual seminars and interviews with senior people from the construction industry and Screwfix.
“I couldn’t believe it when they told me I had won. It is such an honour to be an ambassador for the trade and the company and I hope that it encourages more people of all ages to look at a career in carpentry and joinery.
“Part of the prize is training support – particularly around building a business brand and sustainable construction methods which I am particularly passionate about.
“I come across all sorts of brilliant, talented people in this industry and I hope that this will be a platform to celebrate them and share their stories too.”
DCG teacher Ben Hirst said: “We are incredibly proud of Alex who is a very talented carpenter and joiner and has a great work ethic.
“He will complete his apprenticeship next Autumn and we look forward to staying in touch with him as his career progresses.”
Alex plans to complete his apprenticeship and develop his skills with his current employer before, potentially, setting up his own business.
Jack Wallace, Director of Marketing at Screwfix, concluded: “Apprentices are the lifeblood of the industry, and we know it’s in safe hands with people like Alex and our other finalists coming through the ranks.
“We were really impressed with Alex’s ambition for the future and his professionalism.
“Seeing the role he wants to play in changing perceptions around the industry completely matches our passion at Screwfix for celebrating trade champions and because of that, we are proud to announce Alex as our 2022 winner. I’m looking forward to seeing where this accolade will take his career.”