Suffolk carpenter crowned best apprentice in the country after swapping careers

Spencer a young carpenter from Bury has won carpenter apprentice of the year PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BON

Spencer a carpenter from Bury has won carpenter apprentice of the year - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

An apprentice from Red Lodge has hit the nail on the head by changing careers and winning a national award from the Institute of Carpenters (IOC).

Spencer Pettitt, 27, gained a degree in sports science after high school, and after working for two years in sports rehab he decided to change direction and retrain.

West Suffolk College

Spencer Pettitt and Geoff Rhodes, president of the IOC, at the Milburn campus of West Suffolk College - Credit: West Suffolk College

Spencer decided to move into the carpentry trade and after completing a level three apprenticeship with West Suffolk College, he has just been crowned the best carpentry apprentice in the country by the IOC.

He picked up the award after being entered into the annual ‘3rd year Student Award Scheme Competition’ - overseen by the IOC, an organisation that helps oversee the standards and training of carpenters and joiners based in the UK.

Spencer a young carpenter from Bury has won carpenter apprentice of the year PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BON

Spencer originally worked in sports rehab but didn't enjoy his job - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Spencer – who works for Trevor Smith Building Ltd - was thrilled with this news. He said: “I’m lost for words and very honoured to have been given this award. 

“I changed careers as I didn’t want to get stuck in an industry that I wasn’t enjoying and it’s paid off.

“Long term I dream of building my own houses – we will see where it takes me – winning this award will help my future ambitions.”

Spencer a young carpenter from Bury has won carpenter apprentice of the year PICTURE: CHARLOTTE BON

Spencer decided to change his career to carpentry, which he says he's really enjoying - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

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Commenting on Spencer's win, Brian Tunbridge, a lecturer in carpentry and joinery at West Suffolk College, said: “It is a fantastic achievement for Spencer.

“It is the culmination of three years of hard work and dedication in which he has had to show a great deal of perseverance and resilience."

Geoff Rhodes, the IOC President, said: “One of the driving forces behind our work at the IOC currently is recognising the acute shortage of qualified carpenters and joiners across the UK.

“Spencer’s quality of work, the commentary we had from his tutors and his aspirations for the future was the best combination of any candidate we judged. Therefore, he was chosen as the overall winner.”

Assistant principal of West Suffolk College, Debbie Coomes, said: “Spencer has won this very prestigious award and we are very proud of him. I would like to pay tribute to our amazing team of lecturers and tutors who have supported Spencer throughout his time with us. I would also like to say thank you to the IOC for their support.”

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