Maker Month - Alexis


Where did you go to school?

I began my studies at the Compagnons du Devoir where I completed a 2-year apprenticeship. Then I chose to go on the “Tour de France,” so I learned my trade by traveling all over France, working in several companies and discovering different types of work. I was also able to take part in the WorldSkills competition.


How did you get into the profession / what inspired you?

I grew up in this environment. My father and my grandfather are bricklayers and they introduced me to woodworking. It's a material I particularly appreciate working with because I love the smell, the various species, and all that you can do with it. I always knew I wanted to be a joiner.


Why would you recommend a career in skilled trades?

First of all, you need a true desire to go into this profession. It's a job that must be done with passion. Over time, we learn to handle the material and work it properly. We learn every day, and I love the fact that we need to use our head and our hands at the same time.

“We learn every day, and I love the fact that we need to use our head and our hands at the same time.”

What advice do you have for students or individuals who may be considering pursuing skilled trades?

Do not hesitate! There are plenty of choices available after any degree in these trades. My advice would be - if you're interested, go ahead, go for it, don't hesitate to knock on the door of any training center or company. Look for internships, and like me, travel while learning your trade. It's very enriching.


What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were looking into career opportunities?

I'm now working in my 11th company since I started at the Compagnons du Devoir and I’ve realized you really should begin "at the very bottom of the ladder" as an apprentice, just to work and understand the trade in all its complexity. All trades are complex, but if you want to run your own company or you want to manage a team, you have to do more than just study. The best managers I've had and the best team leaders were those who started at the very bottom of the ladder and climbed up step-by-step.

“The best managers I've had and the best team leaders were those who started at the very bottom of the ladder and climbed up step-by-step.”

What’s your biggest career accomplishment to date?

The WorldSkills Competition, which has been both a professional and a personal experience. It started in 2016 when I took place in the regional selections. With regional and national selections, I participated in four events. It ended last August in 2019 with the international competition where I represented France in the joinery trade. It was months, even years, of preparation and ended with a beautiful result as I won the gold medal!


Can you tell us a little more about WorldSkills?

The WorldSkills Competition is for young people in various trades in any industry, including catering, hairdressing, beauty care, etc. It embraces many professions. At the end, the best candidates from each country will compete during four days and the world champion of each profession is determined with scores given by a professional jury.


What’s one misperception that people have about your job?

People often think that trades are reserved for people who may struggle in school. But as in any job, you need to have a good head as well as good hands to succeed. If you're bad at math, or even if you're bad at spelling as a company director, it can be very complicated.


What are your future aspirations?

I would like to acquire various additional skills in this trade, in manufacturing, design and costing. I would like to run my own joinery company within 10 years.


Why are you #MakerProud?

It's not just “making,” but it's the whole process of thinking about what to do before taking this piece of wood and deciding to cut it. For example, what is the best type of assembly that will last over time or the best ergonomics for the client? There is a great deal of preparation and computer work. It is so satisfying to go from a blank sheet of paper to the finished work at the customer's premises.


What is your purpose?

Having a successful professional career, mastering my trade and passing it on to the next generation.