A recent competition to award the title of Australia's top bricklayer at WorldSkills 2010 saw Australia's young apprentice bricklayers gather for three days at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, where regional NSW bricklaying apprentice, Lester Tibbles, edged out the other contestants to claim gold.
"Thirteen of the best young bricklayers from across Australia were in Brisbane, giving it their all - and in the end it was a close contest. Lester Tibbles may have taken the Gold Medal but the craft of bricklaying in this country was also a big winner this weekend," said Geoff Noble, General Manager of the Australian Brick and Blocklaying Training Foundation (ABBTF).
"These boys are the new face of bricklaying. Being here at WorldSkills, and seeing the high level of skill that each of them has brought to the competition, shows that the future of bricklaying is in good hands," added Noble.
The thirteen apprentice bricklayers worked solidly over three days to build a number of complicated projects, which aimed to test their skills in reading a plan, setting out, and laying bricks and blocks with accuracy. It was the 'Top Gun' speed bricklaying event however, sponsored by the ABBTF, that brought onlookers to their feet.
"The boys were really working up a sweat however they never let the quality of their work slide. Despite the pressure, Lester kept a cool head and managed to snatch the 'Top Gun' title for himself due to his superior speed with the trowel. He's a highly skilled young man and will do Australia proud at the World titles to be held in London next year," said Noble.
The ABBTF is a major supporter of the WorldSkills competition, providing both general organisational assistance and judges for the national apprentice bricklaying titles.
"It is such a great event as it gives our best and brightest young apprentices a chance to compete at a national level and also provides a forum to show off their skills. WorldSkills clearly demonstrates that bricklaying is a real craft and ranks high as a trade in the construction industry," says Noble.
"We also have some very dedicated men and women who give their time and energy generously, training and motivating their young charges. They play an important part in raising the level of skills clearly exhibited in Brisbane by passing on their own experiences in the trade," he added.
Organiser of the bricklaying competition, Troy Everett, puts in a large amount of planning and coordination into this event, which has set the standard for other trades at WorldSkills. Everett coached the last WorldSkills winner, Nigel Croke, and will put Lester through an intense training program, honing his skills, to ensure he is ready to step up to the International WorldSkills competition in London.
Lester Tibbles is also apprenticed to the same employer, Bill Searle, who employed the last Australian WorldSkills champion, Nigel Croke.