Apprentice of the Year Chris Lake Come's Third at World skills Americas



worldskills 2014_Chris Lake


Apprentice of the Year 2012 Chris Lake has come third in world for his woodworking skills.

At the beginning of April, Chris was selected to be the sole UK representative at the renowned WorldSkills Americas competition in Colombia.

Didac, one of the leading training providers in the wood industry, had been approached by ProSkills and the British Council in Colombia just five days before the event began to identify a strong candidate to participate in the cabinetmaking category as a guest competitor.

Chris was an obvious choice. He had been the BWF Apprentice of the Year in 2012 and is an outstanding role model for young people entering this industry.

Accompanying Chris on his journey to South America was Jon Gibson, Didac managing director. Jon also delivered presentations on UK apprenticeships and vocational training at the event.

On arriving in Colombia, Chris and Jon attended the opening ceremony and the next day the competition began.

Chris was given a drawing of a cabinet which was to be made from scratch, but his first obstacle was simply finding enough timber for himself and his three competitors. This brief delay gave Chris time to familiarise himself with tools he had not used before such as the round ended mortice, round ended tenoner and a panel saw with dado cutter (which is illegal in the UK).

When the timber arrived, Chris embarked on creating his first ever cabinet in 22 hours over three long days. As Chris is more specialist in the manufacture of doors and windows, getting used to new machinery and making an unfamiliar joinery product was a huge challenge to face.

Chris battled on despite a massive thunderstorm that flooded the floors of the workshop, and by the time the competition was over, Chris had created a masterpiece.

As he says himself, the highlight of the competition for Chris was the challenge of trying something new and experiencing woodworking in another country. He was awarded third place, and the UK joinery and woodworking industry all congratulate Chris for his outstanding performance.