AN award-winning joinery apprentice was the sole representative at the recent WorldSkills Americas competition in Colombia.
Chris Lake, a 19-year-old apprentice at GS Haydon and Son of South Molton and 2012 winner of the British Woodworking Federation Apprentice of the Year award, was chosen to be a guest contender at the prestigious competition.
The event is exclusively for countries and regions in North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean and is the first time a contender has been allowed to compete from outside the member countries.
Didac, a leading training provider for the furniture and wood industry, was approached by ProSkills and the British Council in Colombia less than a fortnight before the event to identify a strong candidate to participate in the cabinet making category.
Didac managing director Jon Gibson said: "This has been a rollercoaster ride with such limited time to get things together but is an opportunity we definitely didn't want to miss.
"Chris was an obvious choice for the competition. He's recently started his advanced apprenticeship with us and I know he's capable of the challenge ahead."
Jon also attended the event to deliver presentations on UK apprenticeships and vocational training.
Jonathan Ledger, managing director of ProSkills, said: "I am really pleased that our positive relationship with British Council staff in Colombia allows us to support such a prestigious event.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for both the apprentice and training provider to gain valuable global experience."
Chris was required to create a piece of furniture using the materials provided. The judging was based on his interpretation of drawings, safe working practices, preparation of surfaces, jointing and assembly, among other essential joinery skills.
Chris was not included for a medal as he was from outside the qualifying countries, although his work impressed the judges.
Graham Haydon, director of GS Haydon and Son, said: "We're very excited about this opportunity for Chris. He's never done anything like this before and making a furniture piece will be a challenge for him, as his speciality is normally windows and doors."