This month we chatted to Ant Sawyer who is a former apprentice of OFTF about what he does now and what he hopes for the future – enjoy!
What does your role involve?
As well as subcontracting in the workshops and onsite for Carpenter Oak, Emmanuel Hendry and Oakleigh Design Build in Devon; I also design (site survey, draw on SketchUp) and build oak frames directly for clients. I also have a small peg making operation!
What do you like about your job?
I like the variation between office (drawing) workshop (when it’s raining) and site work (when it’s sunny!)
What’s your working day like?
8am-5pm Monday to Saturday – although being self-employed evenings and Sundays are often taken up with quoting for the next job or accounting etc. When on site, I am away from home during the week – which is probably one week every couple of months on average.
What skills do you need in your job?
To be a useful subcontractor you have to have qualifications and tickets that allow you to be on site. CSCS Health and Safety as a minimum, but tower scaffold, telehandler, MEWP and Slinger/Signaller are all useful/essential to remain employable!
Tools and experience build as you progress – so I’d say a positive, honest attitude and an ability to communicate are things you should bring to the table as an oak framer!
What was your background before starting this role?
During my 20’s I was an athlete with the British Athletics squad (Decathlon – Commonwealth Games 2002) and then the British Skeleton Team (World Ranking of 6th in 2007/8) I didn’t make the cut for the 2010 Winter Olympics so it was time for a career change!
I started carpentry with a course at The Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis, then an oak framing course at Woodenways, 2 years at Oakwrights, then completed my apprenticeship with several projects and tutors at The Oak Frame Training Forum in Bristol – which for me was a great experience, combining exposure to different techniques with great networking opportunities (i.e. beers round the fire!)
What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m glad I have a desire to learn, and a belief that you can make a happy career oak framing!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
I’ll be 47!! Still in South Devon – in a home I’ve built – kids, veg patch, little boat – 3 day week working week!!!
A bit of advice for anyone thinking about a career in construction?
Be an intelligent craftsman – aspire to be at least!!