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Derby College Group apprentice Kai takes top spot in regional carpentry competition

Derby College Group apprentice Kai takes top spot in regional carpentry competition

Talented Derby College Group architectural joinery apprentice Kai Kryger has taken top spot in a prestigious East Midlands carpentry competition.

The eighteen-year-old  beat apprentices and students from across the region to win the Institute of  Carpenters’ Merlane Craft Competition 2024 hosted by The Sheffield College.

Kai, who  moved from Canada to Wirksworth three years ago, has always wanted to go into the construction trades.

Studying on day release with  Derby College, he is now seven months into a  Level 3 Advanced  Architectural Joinery Apprenticeship with bespoke woodwork company Water Lane Joinery in Wirksworth.

Kai, who had never entered a joinery competition before, said:

“We had four hours to work on a stud frame, incorporating special joints, which isn’t that long. In real life it would probably have taken much longer to complete, but most of us managed to finish it within the time allowed.”

As well as being presented with the winner’s cup, he also won a new set of carpentry tools.

The one-day practical competition is designed to showcase the entrants’ skills and knowledge and is judged by industry experts who are committed to upholding the highest standards of craftsmanship.

Kai enrolled in Derby College’s level 1 full-time  joinery  course within months of  arriving in Derbyshire. He secured his apprenticeship after initially approaching his employer about work experience.

He added:

“At first, I did jobs like  sweeping up and many hours of sanding for an oak panelled room. But quite quickly – within two months of me starting there – I was offered a carpentry apprenticeship. I think I was hired because I already had quite a bit of practical experience. In Canada I’d helped my uncle build a house – and I’d made a chicken coop and bench set for a patio. I was always making things.”

Thomas Cantrell, Operations Manager for Construction Apprenticeships at Derby College,  said he was extremely proud of both Kai and fellow DCG competitor  level 1 joinery apprentice Jack Henley.

He added:

“It was an honour to witness the incredible talent and dedication shown by all the participants, making it a truly memorable day for everyone involved.

Our apprentices represented Derby College with such enthusiasm and skill. Their hard work and commitment are a testament to the bright future of the construction industry.

Events like this not only provide a platform to showcase skills but also foster camaraderie and a sense of community. It was a pleasure to see apprentices from various backgrounds come together to celebrate their passion for craftsmanship.”

Kai, who would quite like to have his own joinery business one day, enjoys the wide variety of  projects his apprenticeship offers. He is currently busy working on a set of oak stairs for a barn conversion property but  hasn’t ruled out entering further craft competitions.

Details of DCG's Construction/Carpentry Courses:

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