Institute of Carpenters’ 2021 3rd Year Student Award winners announced

Winner IOC 3rd Year Student Award, Spencer Pettit (left) with IOC President, Geoff Rhodes (right)

Two Highly Commended certificates plus an overall winner of the Institute of Carpenters’ 2021 3rd Year Student Award were recently announced. The overall winner of this year’s Award is apprentice site carpenter Spencer Pettit of West Suffolk College.

The two Highly Commended certificates were awarded to Jacob Cockeram, apprentice bench joiner at York College, and Jak Watson, apprentice bench joiner at The Building Crafts College London, both of whom work in the commercial fit-out area of the joinery sector.

This year’s Awards were kindly sponsored by four major companies from across the wood industry: Axminster Tools, IronmongeryDirect, specialist screws and fixings producer Reisser Ltd, and OSB and MDF manufacturers: MEDITE SMARTPLY.

The Judges for the 2021 competition were IOC President Geoff Rhodes; IOC board member Martin Corton of Rainleaf, who also sponsored the magnificent trophy, which was carved by honorary IOC member Andy Peters of Maritima Wood Carving; and UK Construction YouTube star, Fix Radio carpentry presenter and IOC Fellow, Robin Clevett.

Commenting on Spencer Pettit’s win, Brian Tunbridge, Lecturer in Carpentry & Joinery at West Suffolk College, said: “It's a fantastic achievement for Spencer to win this nationally recognised student award. It's the culmination of three yearss' hard work and dedication in which he's had to show a great deal of perseverance and resilience. Naturally, we're very proud of him. On seeing this news, I believe current and future students at West Suffolk College can only be inspired to work hard and achieve their career dreams, just like Spencer."


From left to right: Chris Johnson, Head of Production at Stage One (Jacob Cockeram's employer); Highly Commended certificate winner, Jacob Cockeram; Adrian Salton, Tutor of Furniture Making and Architectural Joinery at York College; Ashley Stokes, Curriculum Leader for Construction at York College

As part of his entry, winner Spencer Pettit said: “Having tutors that really care about your progress and the information they are teaching made it a process that I would recommend to anyone who's looking to work in carpentry or construction. It opens so many doors and opportunities that shape a career. I'm excited for the future of construction as an industry. I can see a move towards a more sustainable, forward thinking and empathetic environment. Personally, I cannot wait to merge my passion for the traditional carpentry techniques and materials, which has grown while working with listed buildings, with innovative ideas and designs that will have a positive impact on the environment for the future. Finally, and importantly, I'm mindful of creating a work life that keeps the physical and mental wellbeing of employees a number one priority - something I believe is essential in the continuation of this incredible field.”

Geoff Rhodes, IOC President, commented: “One of the driving forces behind our work at the IOC currently is recognising the acute shortage of qualified Carpenters and Joiners across the UK. We launched this 3rd Year IOC Student Award scheme across our 35 IOC member Colleges two years ago to help inspire, improve and address the nation’s woodworking skills deficit. By providing support and encouragement to all those embarking on their training in these fields, and then moving into subsequent chosen careers, we can celebrate the achievements of specific students who demonstrate the commitment and skills the construction industry so needs.”

Commenting on Jak Watson's Highly Commended certificate, David Dowdles, Principal at the Building Crafts College, commented: “We're absolutely delighted that Jak Watson, Bench Joinery student at the Building Crafts College, has been awarded a Highly Commended certificate by the Institute of Carpenters. Selected from among many talented candidates, Jak received this award in recognition of the exceptional quality of workmanship exhibited in a table he produced as part of the Institute of Carpenters' national competition. Everyone at the BCC wishes Jak the very best of luck in what will be a very bright future career.”

On Jacob Cockeram's achievement, Adrian Salton, Tutor in Furniture Making at York College, said: “Jacob definitely deserves this recognition. He's been an exemplary apprentice and is a now a fine ambassador for his company. He’s shown maturity and is very knowledgeable, and I’m sure Jacob will be a great asset."

For more information on the Institute of Carpenters, see

Institute of Carpenters
32 High Street
Wendover, Bucks
HP22 6EA
0844 879 7696