Chays is a really fab apprentice

FOUR years of hard work has paid off for Murwillumbah's Chays Brown.

Not only is the 21-year-old now a fully-qualified tradesman, he was also named Metal Fabrication Apprentice of the Year at a recent North Coast Institute of TAFE awards night.

“I was really surprised when they let me know I'd won,” Mr Brown said.

“I had no idea I was even in the running.”

Mr Brown completed his metal fabrication and welding engineer apprenticeship with Pottsville Forge, a South Murwillumbah-based business that specialises in decorative iron works and general fabrication.

“For my Apprentice of the Year award I won $100 for work gear, a trophy, medallion and some TAFE graduate badges,” he said.

After graduating from Murwillumbah High School, Mr Brown tried his hand at concreting before securing the metal fabrication and engineering apprenticeship.

“Metalwork was the subject I was best at at school and the one I most enjoyed,” he said.

“It was a good choice, I really like the work.”

An average week for Mr Brown may involve making a spiral staircase and fashioning a decorative handrail, however, it is not always so straight forward.

“We do a lot of work for the UK television show I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here,”he said. “We made the spiral stair- cases that go around trees up to their tree house, but the weird- est thing we made for them was a Houdini-style tank.”

Mr Brown said the tank, which sat in a swimming pool, filled with water as contestants had to race to unchain themselves and climb out.

Owner of Pottsville Forge John Forrester said he is very proud of his employee.

“We were stoked,” Mr Forrester said.

“But we weren't as excited as Chays was.”

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