Leicester College Blog

Award-winning apprentice to use carpentry skills on the slopes


After leaving school, Carl Stahl pursued his A levels and was planning to attend university to study Liberal Arts and Sciences. However, he decided to do the Carpentry and Joinery apprenticeship at Leicester College instead, which led to him launching his career in carpentry and even scooping the Apprentice of the Year Award at the 2024 Leicester College Apprenticeship Awards.

T levels are more hands-on

Carl went to Leicester Grammar School and says it was very exam focused – which isn’t one of his strengths.

“Exams and classroom learning isn’t really for me,” he says. “However, I did my A levels because my parents pushed me, I applied to universities and even got an offer, but before I accepted, I spoke to a family friend and changed my mind.”

The family friend was a site manager at Bloor Homes and the idea of going into construction appealed to Carl, so he changed his plans about going to university and embarked on a week’s work experience instead.

“I got a lot of experience and worked with bricklayers, electricians and carpenters,” he says. “But carpentry appealed to me the most, so I decided to look into taking it up as a trade.”

Making the right choice

After finding out about Leicester College and the Carpentry and Joinery apprenticeship, Carl decided to enrol on the course.

“I liked the fact that I would get to train on the job for most of it and only spend about 20% of the course learning in the classroom,” Carl says. “As someone who prefers a more hands-on approach to learning, I think it was a better option for me than going to university.”

Carl did his carpentry apprenticeship with Jelson Homes, working on its Thurnby and Broughton Astley new build estates. He even participated in SkillBuild, the largest construction competition for apprentices and full-time learners in the UK, coming in third place in the regionals for the carpentry category.

“It was great to come in third place,” he says. “The competition was strong so I didn’t expect it, but I really enjoyed myself and got recognition for my work, which just tells me that I made the right choice in pursuing carpentry.”

Making plans for the future

Carl is now doing his level 3 apprenticeship, which is more advanced and can lead further progression. After the course, he plans to move abroad and combine his love of carpentry with his other passion – snowboarding.

“I’m looking at going out to Switzerland for the snowboarding season once I’m finished with my apprenticeship. I’d love to stay there or move to Austria and build chalets.

“I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to everyone I know. I really enjoy what I do and wake up every morning looking forward to work.

“In my opinion, going to university is not worth it unless you want to go into law, medicine, or a field that specifically requires a degree. A trade is a better thing to have under your belt and is a much more feasible alternative.”

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