Build future with hands-on approach
GARY Riches put on his toolbelt at age 13 to help his father in the building trade.
The 58-year-old went on to complete a carpentry apprenticeship and never looked back, establishing his own building business, Gary Riches Builders, 35 years ago.
A carpenter works in the construction and repair of both commercial, residential and industrial buildings.
Carpenters build, install, re- pair and erect wooden frames, foundations, walls and other structural elements.
“When I was a kid working with my dad, I felt like the richest kid in school when I’d buy my hamburger and Coke with my own money, but you’d work until 7 o’clock,” he said.
“The young ones these day are going away from the trades because their parents want to send them to university but if you have too many academic people, who will build everything?
“There’s a lot of opportunities in this job – you do an apprenticeship and become a carpenter, then you can be a self-employed carpenter and then a builder if you want.
“I’m 58 and I just love it. I’m still hands-on and I do all the paperwork myself.”
Mr Riches and his employees can list the Westcourt Tavern and the roof structure of the Cairns Convention Centre among their best work.
But the refurbishment of the Chambers complex on the corner of Lake and Spence streets is one of his most exciting projects.
“I enjoy seeing someone get their house, it’s a buzz when you see their face light up,” he said.
“You can make a good living out of 25-30 hours a week.
“But it’s hard manual work and your body, if you’re not careful, it’ll wear out. It is also not a consistent job, but if you’re good at your trade and you’re conscientious you’ll always have work.”