Award-winning Dagenham brickie dreams of his own firm

�The joy of creating something durable along with hard work are the foundations on which a prize-winning Dagenham teenager has built his recent success.

Joe Parkin, 19, a student at Barking and Dagenham College, won gold at the Guild of Bricklayers London Regional Brickwork Competition on March 14. His ultimate aim is to start his own business.

Joe, who is studying Level 3 bricklaying, took the prize in the senior competition while his coursemate Daniel Pascan, studying level 2 bricklaying, came third in the junior section. The humble teenager said he was surprised, but thinks his belief in doing things well may have helped him.

Joe, of Eastbrook Avenue, Dagenham, said: “If you’re going to do something, you might as well to it properly.”

This motto has in the past shaped his attitude for the theoretical aspect of his training – lessons at Barking and Dagenham College – as well.


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Joe started a bricklaying apprenticeship almost three years ago. He said: “The course helped me to understand how things work and to learn about structure, dimensions and foundations. We learn everything pretty much from the bottom upwards.”

Now he is hoping to carry on working for a few years before starting up his own company.

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He said: “If I went out there without a qualification, it would probably be much harder. You need qualifications.”

But he also spoke of the sense of satisfaction he gets from a job well done and said: “The best thing is looking back after you have finished – that’s where it all comes together. We take pictures of our work. You feel you have worked on something that’s pretty much there for life.”

The competition took place at Thanet College in Kent. Competitors were given a drawing at 9am and had to complete at 4pm.

Competitors were assessed on accuracy, setting out, building, cleanliness and work method.

Tony Carruthers, curriculum team leader for trowel trades, construction and built environment, said: “We are really proud of Daniel and Joe. They had some tough competition so did really well to come first and third. This is another example of how talented and hard-working our learners are.”

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