Best in the world! The British brickie and cabinet maker who won gold in world skills Olympics

A session with Team GB psychologists helped them to the top of the podium

Great Britain has added to its Olympic gold medal haul thanks to the world class handiwork of a bricklayer and cabinet maker.

Building on the success of London 2012 the nation's best apprentices triumphed at the Skills Olympics in Leipzig. The winners revealed a session with Team GB psychologists helped them to the top of the podium.

Bricklayer Ashley Terron took gold and secured a record number of points in his event. The 21-year-old from Warrington had 22 hours spread over three-and-a-half days to build a German-style arch, an eagle with a crest and the Brandenburg Gates. Using around 800 bricks, the designs earned him an 89.3 per cent rating from judges, the highest ever in the bricklaying discipline.

Speaking as the team celebrated their last night in Germany before flying home, he told the Independent: "I trained a year and a half for this, making sacrifices along the way. A week spent at Loughborough University with the same sports psychologists that Team GB used before the Olympics also really helped.

"We looked at all aspects of the mental side of competition - techniques to calm down when you might get anxious, things to do to take your mind elsewhere. I learned a lot that week."

Mr Terron, the third generation of a building family and who has just graduated from the University of Salford where he had been studying construction, has been proudly telling friends he is now "the world's best brickie".

He said: "I've got the medal beside my bed and wake up to check it's still nice and shiny in the morning. To win gold in bricklaying is just amazing. It still hasn't really sunk in that I am the best young bricklayer in the world."

Mr Terron said his former headmaster had tried to dissuade him from going into the industry. "He pulled me to one side and said 'why do bricklaying? You're a bright lad.' I was pretty offended given my family history. I'd say to him 'look at me now'.

"I want to show the UK how apprenticeships and vocational training can enable young people to gain a real qualification and a real future. I've learnt a lot from my dad and brother and the three-year apprenticeship, and hopefully this will lead on to other things, maybe working abroad or setting up my own company."

Cabinet maker George Callow also won gold at WorldSkills 2013, defeating 23 rivals, and was also named "best of nation" among the 33 apprentices who formed Team UK in an event that tests the skills of trainees at the workbench or in the factory. He told the Independent how a 5th birthday present of a hammer and screwdriver set him on the path to gold in Germany.

"It might not be your average five-year-old's birthday gift but it was great for me. I always knew I wanted to go into woodwork from a very young age. My dad used to do lots of work around the house and I'd be joining in with my tools. Then I started making wooden toys and eventually go-karts."

Mr Callow, 21, from Chichester in West Sussex, praised his teachers at Chichester College who pushed him to fulfil his ambitions. He divided his apprenticeship between the college and Rolls Royce where he worked on walnut dashboards for the luxury car.

Any dreams of following in the footsteps of the great furniture makers Thomas Chippendale and George Hepplewhite and creating a company synonymous with his surname must wait as he returns to Cimitree Furniture in Hampshire, where he is employed as a junior cabinet maker. "They're a fantastic company and I still have a lot to learn," he said.

Mr Callow's grandfather was also a cabinet maker but died before he was born. A small plane and hammer, the only tools that remained from the kit that belonged to his grandfather, were given to him by his grandmother and Mr Callow used them to help make an oak bureau that won him top prize in Leipzig.

Team UK won 23 awards in total, including a silver and three bronze medals, at the four-day event which more than 1,000 apprentices from 54 countries in 46 different disciplines. Welding, car painting, joinery and floristry were among some of the other categories.

David Cameron said: "British ambition and ingenuity has once again taken on and beaten the best in the world and I extend my congratulations to Team UK."

Ann Watson, managing director of skills organisation EAL which supported Team UK at the event, said: "They are heroes and heroines, each and every one of them."

The next Skills Olympics tales place in Sao Paolo in 2015.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent