Richard ‘Jay’ Munkley: a remarkable journey to the 2023 Young Builder of the Year Final
Every year, Youthbuild UK organises events to celebrate the transformational power of the construction industry in the lives of young people. These events not only showcase the incredible work done by young individuals but also highlight the importance of supporting and mentoring those who face significant challenges. Among the many awards presented, the Young Builder of the Year stands out as a symbol of perseverance and achievement.
In 2023, one young man's journey to the Young Builder of the Year final stands as a testament to resilience, determination, and a passion for carpentry. Meet 20-year-old Richard 'Jay' Munkley, a remarkable young carpenter with a story that inspires us all.
Jay's journey has not been without its share of challenges. At nine years old, Jay's parents split up, and he continued to live with his mother and older brother. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Jay's mother entered into a tumultuous relationship, leading her to depart the family home abruptly, and leaving Jay to care for his older, disabled brother.
Jay's brother suffers from Spina Bifida, a condition that required constant care. Jay not only had to adapt to this new role as a part-time carer but also grapple with the emotional turmoil caused by his mother's absence. Additionally, Jay faced the loss of his best friend in a tragic car accident during this period, further affecting his mental health.
Despite these immense challenges, Jay remained committed to his carpentry apprenticeship, attending college and site work while also managing his brother's care. During this period, however, his physical health deteriorated, leading to hospitalisation and surgery, but Jay's determination kept him moving forward.
Jay's mother's absence and lack of support during his hospitalisation were extremely challenging. With his mother's sudden departure, Jay had to navigate debts, increased rent, and financial challenges while caring for his brother, but he persevered. He is now in a much more positive place, a testament to his inner strength and resilience.
A positive turnaround
Jay's enthusiasm for carpentry shone through, even during these trying times. He took it upon himself to make repairs to their house, showcasing his dedication to his craft.
Jay's training path has now led him on to a Level 3 NVQ Carpentry Apprenticeship. His passion for learning, the camaraderie on-site, and the growing confidence in his abilities kept him going.
His work placements at Coastal Housing and DC Carpentry have all spoken very highly of his work ethic, helpfulness, and punctuality – something we wholeheartedly agree with, here at Cyfle Building Skills. His positive attitude, despite facing considerable adversity, has earned him the respect and admiration of all those he has worked with.
A promising future
With his qualifications, including Level 1 Multiskilling and Maths Essential Skills, Jay is currently pursuing a Level 3 NVQ Carpentry Qualification. His dream is to start a business, working alongside his brother, renovating properties. This would provide the flexibility needed to support his brother's health needs.
Under the guidance of Cyfle, Jay has thrived in his apprenticeship since September 2021, displaying unwavering commitment and dedication. Jay’s story is a powerful reminder that determination and resilience can overcome even the most challenging circumstances. His journey to the 2023 Young Builder of the Year final showcases the potential that lies within young people, especially when they receive support, mentorship, and opportunities within the construction industry.
To those facing circumstances similar to what he has experienced, Jay offers this message: "Things will get easier, and there's always someone worse off than you."
At Cyfle Building Skills, we are proud to have played a part in Jay's success story and remain committed to empowering more young individuals to achieve their dreams in the world of construction. We wish him the best of luck in the final of Young Builder of the Year 2023, and in his future career – which we are sure he will make a success of.