From Lego to learning legend: Ben Sellwood shows why building is for everyone

For as long as he can remember, Ben Sellwood has wanted to be a builder. He’d always loved creating things, from constructing LEGO masterpieces to projects in woodwork class. And in the five and a half years since he started his apprenticeship, straight out of high school, his love for the industry has only grown.

“I could go on and on about my love for building, I’m so passionate about it. There’s not a single part of building that I don’t love. I even love when things aren’t going right, I love the pressure and challenges,” says Ben.

Ben has worked with his boss, Mitchell Hewetson for his entire career, following Mitchell when he set up his company Right Eye Building. Now, as second in charge, he has learnt skills from pricing jobs to running a team, work vehicle and site.

“I worked hard, I was determined to succeed, and while I had a few setbacks, I’m proud of how far I’ve come. But this is just the start for me. I want to learn, improve, and grow as much as possible,” Ben says.

After completing his level four carpentry qualification with BCITO, he enrolled in the level five supervisors’ qualification. He’s keen to tell anyone thinking about a career in the trades to give a BCITO apprenticeship a go.

Ben Graduation

“My training advisor, David McDonald, or Doogie as we call him, was brilliant. He was so clued in and was great with any questions I had. He signed off my work straight away and always put in 100% effort. The practical side of the training was so great, and I still keep in contact with him.”

For Ben, one of the most crucial parts of his training was the book work. He found it to be one of the most important parts of being a good builder.

“The books and the online platform were brilliant, and I learnt so much. Everything was straightforward and clear; the quizzes were super helpful too. When you’re on site, you’re taught how to do something, but you don’t know the why. I think the why is so important – it helps everything click into place,” he explains.

Ben acknowledges that sometimes apprentices struggle with the book work, but says the support is there for whoever needs it, taking out so much of the stress.

“BCITO has made it so easy nowadays - some guys at work have learning difficulties and struggle with words, but David put in so much extra time to help. He provided alternatives and was so accommodating. Building is a career for anyone –there is always a way around any issue,” he says.

Ben himself is one of the people keen to help others along the way, as passionate about building teams and confidence as he is about getting on the tools.

“I help all the guys at work. I’ll invite them over to my place and we’ll go through the books together or I’ll give them lessons on how to use the online programme. Once you know how to master it, and know the skills on how best to study, you’re good to go.”

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