Lara Nobel is flying high after winning the 2015 CSQ Excellence Award for Construction Apprentice of the Year. She followed up this accolade with an interview on the 6’oclock news where she spoke about the launch of her new business The Tiny House Company.

A third year apprentice carpenter at TAFE Queensland SkillsTech, Lara also has a background in architecture. Keen to learn about the other side of the building industry, Lara started her apprenticeship to learn the hands-on skills she needed to turn building designs into reality.

“I wanted more in my day than a stack of emails and clicks on a design file. I like being outside in the sun and I love seeing a building come to life.”

“Carpentry is such a versatile trade, you get to learn a little bit of everything, and builders are really the lynchpins on site, we deal with steel and timber and we need a good understanding of all aspects of a build, from concreting to plumbing.”

“We really need more cross-over between architects and builders. When you’re thinking from both perspectives you can get a different outcome. For example, the scheduling of a build is as important as the construction, and when you understand how a house goes up you can streamline your projects.”

“I also think we need to re-evaluate how we’re building homes, the Australian dream of a big home and backyard is becoming unaffordable. We wanted to find a cheaper, more sustainable way to live. I was invited to attend the Tiny House Conference in America. When I got back we decided to build a tiny house on a trailer.”

“It’s got a composting toilet, laundry and a grey water processing unit on one side and a lounge room with a bed that drops down from the ceiling. We’ve used recycled hardwood timbers and made sure there was really good light and ventilation. We also have a high ceiling to help create a more spacious feel, because there’s just 18 square metres of floor space!”

“Off the back of this project I have just started The Tiny House Company with my boyfriend and my employer at Greg Thornton Construction.  We started this business to offer people an alternative way of living, and we’ve been overwhelmed with interest from people who saw our tiny house on the news or came to our open home.”

And how does it feel to win CSQ’s Construction Apprentice of the Year Award?

“I’m stoked and feel very privileged. I got to meet the other nominees and they were amazing people who deserved to win too. TAFE Queensland SkillsTech and our teachers there have been fantastic, especially with the practical training.”

“If you’re thinking about starting a trade, I say go for it! If you find yourself with a bad boss, just change! I’m lucky to be part of a great team that does things a bit differently. I’m really excited to see where we can go from here.”