The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers Young Craftsman of the Year

The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers Young Craftsman of the Year 2015 

I am pleased to be able to report that our craftsman of the year for 2015 is Jed Parke of RR&B Garages Ltd of Stoke Prior near Bromsgrove in Worcestershire.  Jed started at RR&B Garages in August 2013, which at the age of 19 made him a slightly older apprentice.  His apprenticeship is Level 2 Vehicle Body Repair and Paint Finishing and he is now in the process of completing his Level 3.  Jed presented his personal project and it was the restoration of a 1990 Volkswagen Caddy Pick-up with a 1.6 diesel engine.  Jed bought the car 3 years ago when he purchased it from a friend following it’s MOT failure.  Matt Smith is his boss at RR&B Garages and he was good enough to bring the vehicle to the presentation that Jed did to members of the Worshipful Company and FBHVC.  Jed brought a full portfolio of all the work he has undertaken, most of which has been done in his garage at home all be it limited space.  Matt has helped Jed with the final work by giving him space in the business garage, which has been a big help.

From the photographs the caddy was in a poor condition and I am sure there would be few people who would wish to take on such a project.  What impressed the panel of judges more that anything was the research that Jed had done into the caddy and the location of parts and panels, which have been extremely difficult to find.  As some of the panels are not available this has meant either making or modifying panels and he has certainly shown great skill that has been part of his apprenticeship and the training provided by RR&B Garages.

Jed’s prize is a cheque for £3500 and presentation of the award at the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Harness Makers Annual Dinner later in the year.

The award panel also decided to award a runner-up prize to Jack Baker, who works for Ashridge Automobiles Ltd at Great Billington, Leighton Buzzard.  Jack is a Level 2 apprentice on the FBHVC Restoration Apprenticeship at Bicester and is now in his second year.  It was good to get an applicant from our apprenticeship scheme and the project that Jack presented was the re-upholstering of a pre-war Riley Merlin Saloon.  The work included a new headlining, carpets and door cards from scratch having not been provided with any reference material.  All wood, leather, millboard, headlining and carpet was cut, measured and fitted by Jack with learning assistance provided by the Ashridge team.  The work took six months and Jack presented a full portfolio of photographs showing his expertise that he has learnt during his apprenticeship at Ashridge Automobiles.  The award panel decided to award Jack the runner-up prize of £1500.


The Worshipful Company of Coachmakers Young Craftsman of the Year 2016

The Young Craftsman of the Year Award 2016 is now open and candidates can get application forms from the Secretary, FBHVC, Stonewold, Berrick Salome, Wallingford, Oxon OX10 6JR.  Candidates must be craft or technician apprentices/trainees engaged in the automotive industry involved in the repair, restoration or preservation of historic vehicles.  Candidates are required to produce a significant piece of work or project, which clearly demonstrates their skills to a very high level.  In addition, the candidate has to produce a portfolio to support the project and be prepared to present themselves and the project to a judging panel.  Judging takes place in November 2016 and only a shortlist of candidates will be invited to present their work and portfolio to the joint judging panel, comprising Liverymen from the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and members of the board of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs.

FBHVC welcome member clubs nominating apprentices and trainees and all apprentices on the FBHVC restoration apprenticeship courses are eligible to apply for the award.