He also sees too much waste in the commercial side compared with the more frugal residential sector, and believes there could be more reuse and recycling of materials. He managed to build two bars and DJ stage for a friend’s party from leftovers he had collected.
As in many industries, technology is having an impact, particularly among the coming generation of builders. Tom is no different, recently buying a laptop and drawing software to replace his drawing board, pencil and paper.
He also finds social media useful to follow new industry trends and knows many builders who use sites such as Instagram to win jobs and promote their work to a wider audience. ‘I follow a lot of building pages on Instagram as well as different product pages to get ideas,’ he says.
HIA has been a solid support and great resource for Tom, who has heard his share of horror stories from other apprentices. ‘It’s really good that they keep on top of things. I can call them whenever and I have a really good relationship,’ he says. ‘With HIA everything’s been taken care of, such as insurance.’
Tom will finish his apprenticeship in March 2020, and then will focus on getting supervisor experience and obtaining his builder’s licence. Long-term he wants to run his own business but he is also drawn to aid work in countries, such as earthquake-hit Nepal where he has travelled, or helping to construct hospitals or aid centres for organisations such as Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), in disaster and conflict zones.
Whatever Tom chooses to do, he is definitely going places.