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Local businesses support carpentry awards

Three local businesses have supported Eastleigh College’s annual ‘Carpenter of the Year’ awards celebrating the hard work and successes of the college’s carpentry and joinery students and apprentices.

Howdens Joinery Co, Chandlers Ford Timber and Covers Building Merchants supplied prizes and joined lecturers, assessors and students at the awards event which was held in Eastleigh College’s prestigious East Avenue restaurant.

Four learners were chosen from over 140 carpentry and joinery students and apprentices who currently attend Eastleigh College.

As well as producing exceptionally high quality work, Level 1 student Drew Morgan impressed his lecturers by showing excellent commitment. After collecting the Chandlers Ford Timber Award, Drew, 17, said: “I was surprised when I heard I’d won. I’ve enjoyed everything about the course at Eastleigh College. Over the year things have just really come together and I’m looking forward to doing the Level 2 course next year.”

Eighteen year-old Dan Hopkins won the Covers Award after being nominated for his problem-solving ability, inquisitive nature and willingness to help fellow students during his Level 2 course, while the Howdens Award went to Level 3 student, Ashley Rogers. Ash has displayed an impressive natural gift for woodwork, both technically and creatively, and has been consistently conscientious and self-disciplined throughout his three years at Eastleigh College.

The Apprenticeship Award was scooped by 20-year old Riley Karta-Gilbert who is just completing an advanced apprenticeship with Ridon Joinery in Southampton and has achieved his Diploma for Bench Joinery and NVQ Diploma for Architectural Joinery at the College.

Riley said: “I’m over the moon. I really enjoyed woodwork at school so thought I’d try carpentry at college and I’ve just really enjoyed it. Ridon is a great company and I’m really pleased that they’ve offered me a job when my apprenticeship ends.”

Eastleigh College’s Carpentry Lecturer, Mark Bowden, said: “The calibre of the joinery skills from all our students has been fantastic, and they have consistently impressed as they have developed their knowledge and understanding of carpentry and what is expected of them in a working environment. They have shown maturity and endeavour with a good work ethic which will serve them well during the rest of their courses and on to their working careers.

“Running the awards event enables us to recognise those who have put in exceptional effort or gone that extra mile. We’re grateful to Howdens, Covers and Chandlers Ford Timber for supporting us. It is rewarding to see the winners celebrating with their families and friends.

Representatives from Howdens Joinery Co, Chandlers Ford Timber and Covers Building Merchants attended the event which was hosted by the College’s hospitality and catering students.

Speaking at the event, Chandlers Ford Timber’s manger, Marc Dalby, said: “We’re proud to have been working with Eastleigh College for over 15 years and know that they always have the best interests for their students. These awards are great for the students’ confidence, and as a local independent timber merchant we’re delighted to show our support and provide tools as prizes.”

Kitchen designer with Howdens' Southampton depot, Tash D’arcy-Burt, added: “We’re delighted to support and attend the awards which celebrate the next generation of site and specialist carpenters. As a leading supplier of kitchens and joinery products to the building trade, it’s good to know that there are skilled and committed youngsters coming into the industry."

Eastleigh College’s carpentry and joinery courses run from Levels 1, 2 and 3, through to intermediate and advanced apprenticeships. Whether looking for an employer or gaining work experience, learners benefit from the College’s excellent links with local and national industry employers.