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Tom Carroll – Wheelwright Apprentice

Tom’s initial training was at Plumpton College in Lewes, East Sussex where he first gained a Level 2 Diploma in Environmental and Land Based Studies Diploma.  He progressed to an extended BTEC Diploma in Countryside Management & Environmental Conservation gaining an A* and he was also awarded Best Practical Student in Countryside Studies at Plumpton College in 2014. 

He was employed as a Forestry/ Arboricultural Operative for two and a half years, mainly for the Woodland Trust, before spotting an advertisement for a Wheelwright apprenticeship with local Master Wheelwright, Douglas Andrews, in Heathfield, East Sussex.   

“I have always enjoyed making things out of wood and working with my hands, so when an opportunity to train as a Wheelwright arose to learn a heritage craft from a Master Wheelwright, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse!” 

Tom’s apprenticeship is jointly funded by the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights and the Worshipful Company of Coachmakers.  His progression has been extremely fast and he will complete his apprenticeship 20 months early in November 2020.

As Tom had worked in forestry, he was drawn towards making a third sized timber nib for his final project piece. It is a simple yet graceful implement that moves felled timber out of the forest with horses or oxen.

Tom completed his apprenticeship 20 months early in November 2020 and his achievement was recognised at the Alternative Lord Mayor’s Show event held via Zoom on 14th November 2020, when he was interviewed about his final project piece in front of over 150 Liverymen from the Wheelwrights, Pattenmakers, Tin Plate Workers and Coachmakers.

Since completing his apprenticeship, Tom has progressed to such an extent that he can now be relied upon to run the workshop during holiday periods. He has shown himself to be hardworking, technically sound and trustworthy to be given this responsibility. He has worked ably on a wide range of wheelmaking, coach building and millwrighting tasks, and the skill and diligence he has demonstrated, as well as his intention to expand his professional development, led to him being awarded a Journeyman Wheelwright Award for Excellence in March 2022.

In September 2022 Tom joined 4 wheelwrights on the Wheelwrights’ stand at the Livery Craft Fair showcasing their craft and skills.In September 2022 Tom joined 4 wheelwrights on the Wheelwrights’ stand at the Livery Craft Fair showcasing their craft and skills.