FOUR years ago Gavin Brown found himself in a position which in hard economic times, more and more people are finding themselves in.
He was made redundant but rather than getting too downhearted and feeling sorry for himself he decided to start afresh and is now in the running for a top trade industry award.
Gavin, a joiner from Gordon has made the top 5 in the search to find Scotland’s Best Tradesman, beating off 3,000 others to secure a place on the shortlist.
And if the 25 year old is successful in the Scottish final he could find himself in front of a panel of judges for the national final of Britain’s Best Tradesmen at a place where every footballer dreams of competing- Wembley.
It was by chance that Gavin found out about the competition when he was flicking through a trade magazine looking for tools.
“I was looking through Screwfix when I spotted the piece about the competition.
“I thought I stood as good a chance as any so decided to fill in the form and send it away and before long they were back in touch with me.
“Getting made redundant when I was an apprentice was hard. I was working with a company in Earlston at the time and seven of us were paid off in one go.
“It was a worrying time but I knew I had to keep going.”
But rather than stick to the Borders or even Great Britain to get back into the industry Gavin went Down Under and worked for a year, a trip he said was a great experience for him.
“I spent 13 months in Australia and I absolutely loved it. I was working most of the time doing a lot of joinery in the Melbourne area.
“It was fantastic and on arriving back home with some experience under my belt I decided to start up my own business.
“I got in touch with the Princes Trust in Selkirk and applied for a grant for things like a van and tools.
“I went for an interview and got the money and it’s all being going well since then.
“I think it’s largely down to word of mouth. I started out doing mostly small jobs which I’m still doing now but I’ve been doing some construction work as well.
“I’ve still got age on my side; it might have been different had a been made redundant further down the line.”
Gavin’s efforts to get his career back on track obviously impressed the Screwfix panel and he’s quietly confident he’ll impress them at the Scottish final in Glasgow.
“I’m not normally one for entering competitions but I’ve made it this far and I’d like to think I could win.
“I’ve got no idea what the judging panel will ask or what they’re looking for but I’ve tried to prepare the best I can.
“To win and get to go down to Wembley would be amazing! My family are right behind me and are fair chuffed for me to have done so well.”