Apprentice carpenter takes out HIA award

Third-year carpentry apprentice Reece Cleeton has reason to celebrate after he was awarded the HIA Regional Apprentice of the Year at the Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) annual Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay Housing Awards.

11 Oct 2017

The TAFE Queensland student and East Coast Apprenticeships apprentice carpenter received the recognition for his achievements during the Housing Industry Association’s (HIA) annual Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay Housing awards ceremony held on Friday, 6 October.

Reece with his HIA award
Reece (right) at the awards

The Apprentice of the Year category was one of the most hotly contested HIA awards of the night with Reece taking home the prize for his quality workmanship, strong work ethic, and excellent academic results.

But Reece also credits his employers and solid support network with his success.

“The people who have helped guide me, like my dad, my first host employer Steve, my current host employer Michael, and my East Coast Apprenticeships field officer Craig Harrison have been amazing,” said Reece.

“The same goes for my TAFE Queensland teachers – they are awesome. We don’t see every part of the trade on site because the industry is so broad, but even if it’s not something we use daily they find a way to make it applicable to us. They’ve got a really great way of teaching.”

Reece, currently employed by Linear Constructions, is over the moon with his win and feels lucky to have found a profession he loves.

Reece in action

“I started out in the industry quite late,” he said.

“I had no idea what I wanted to do; I started uni but hated it so I quit and went overseas and played rugby for a bit instead. I’ve always enjoyed being active but I thought I was above doing a trade because I’d been guided away from it.”

“But carpentry is a great outlet for someone like me – I love that I get to use tools, work out in the sun and have a physical job that also allows me to use my brain at the same time.”


HIA Branch Manager for the Sunshine Coast/Wide Bay region Stuart Collins said the awards provided the perfect opportunity for members of the building industry to showcase their skills.

“The whole purpose of the Apprentice of the Year category is to acknowledge up-and-comers for their achievements and give them exposure to potential future employers,” said Mr Collins.

Reece Cleeton will now go on to the HIA Queensland Housing Awards at the Brisbane Convention Centre on Friday 3 November, where he will be pitted against regional winners from around the state.

For more information about trades courses available at TAFE Queensland visit our website or call 1300 308 233.

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