Albury apprentice floored by award

Nicholas Close has won Apprentice of the Year at the National Furnishing Industry Training Awards. He is pictured with Mark Willis, Else Dale and Peter Middleton. Picture: TARA GOONAN

Nicholas Close has won Apprentice of the Year at the National Furnishing Industry Training Awards. He is pictured with Mark Willis, Else Dale and Peter Middleton. Picture: TARA GOONAN

THREE years of work and study has paid off for an Albury flooring apprentice who has won a national apprentice of the year award.

Nicholas Close, 21, received the top prize for his category, Certificate III in Flooring Technology Carpet, which was presented by the National Furnishing Industry Training Awards.

Mr Close has worked at Middleton’s Carpets while studying flooring technology through the Textile Fashion Industry Association.

He said the event, held at the Royal Exibition Building in Melbourne, had grown.

“There was just the one stage to the competition, which used to run in Victoria but it’s now a national event,” Mr Close said.

There were three nominees in Mr Close’s category, who were judged on their nomination, a questionnaire and a portfolio containing a collection of photographs of their work.

Textile Fashion Industry Association training co-ordinator Mark Willis nominated Mr Close based on his merit.

“Nicholas has shown a diligent attitude towards his learning and development as a floor covering installer,” Mr Willis said.

Owner of Middleton’s Carpets Peter Middleton said Mr Close’s range of skills and personality is what puts him ahead of other apprentices.

“Being in a small shop he has experience in doing a bit of everything in the industry which is what makes him stand out,” Mr Middleton said.

Store supervisor Elsa Dale said Mr Close was a valuable asset to the Middleton family business which has been in Wodonga since 1985.

“He’s got such a brilliant mind, good attention to detail and picks everything up really quickly, we are very proud of him,” she said.

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