Issue 4
Monday, 01 June 2020
Charles Darwin University
Building, Construction and Carpentry Trainer Peter Ammitzboll at Alice Springs campus
Building, Construction and Carpentry Trainer Peter Ammitzboll at Alice Springs campus

Quality trumps quantity, says trades trainer

By Patrick Nelson

Charles Darwin University’s recently appointed Building, Construction and Carpentry lecturer brings a wealth of industry experience to the workshop, and one or two other skills that you would not expect ordinarily.

Peter Ammitzboll has spent about 43 years working in country Victoria mostly as a self-employed builder and then as a site supervisor for a home builder, a project manager for a commercial builder, and a construction lecturer at TAFE Gippsland. And for a while, he worked as a vigneron/wine maker.

“As a commercial builder I’ve helped build a hospital, school, police station and a child care centre, but much of my career has been focused on building new and custom-built houses,” Mr Ammitzboll said.

He recently met a group of first-year trades apprentices at Alice Springs campus for the first time.

“It was a diverse group comprising a mix of mature age apprentices and some early career teenagers who bounced off each other pretty well.

“They came in for a two-week block during which we looked at how to handle materials, how to plan and organise, and how to work efficiently and sustainably in the construction industry.

“At a practical level, we undertook a number of basic power tool exercises and made a tucker box, a tool-carry and a couple of saw stools.”

He said they would return for the next block in mid-June when they would make an adjustable drawing board and a “suitcase-type” tool box.

Mr Ammitzboll said elements of wine-making were conceptually transferable to trades.

“I like to emphasise that quality matters more than quantity. As a wine-maker we carved out a niche as a boutique producer of limited quantities of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and a Sparkling Shiraz.

“It’s a case of ‘do it properly’. In carpentry that translates to plan and organise, or ‘measure twice, cut once’,” he said.

Mr Ammitzboll said he would begin to train a new group of first-year apprentices for the first-time next month.

“We’ll start off with the principles of occupational health and safety and highlight the exciting career opportunities awaiting them in the construction industry,” he said.