An interview with Lukas Nafz (19), German Champion 2017 in carpentry and Christoph Rapp (21), German Champion 2016 in bricklaying.
To be German Champions, i.e. better than all others, you’ve got to have what it takes, and above all train a lot. What is it that drives you?
Nafz: Yes, motivation is something you really need to bring with you. All through my training, I really enjoyed solving and building complex constructions. And I’m still passionate about this.
Rapp: My own ambition and the drive to always do a perfect job—whatever task is at hand.
Mr. Nafz: You work in your parents’ business. What does the family say to you winning in the German Championships?
Nafz: They are really proud of me. The whole family and some of our employees came specially to Sigmaringen to the award ceremony, so they experienced it all live and celebrated with me.
Did everything go to plan in the championships, or was there a moment of doubt?
Nafz: The first two days at the German Championships went superbly. The time was right and the sketch was clear. On the third day I had a small problem. I lost a bit of time and also valuable points. In the end, however, I was satisfied with my result.
Rapp: I think at a German Championships you are much too excited and the pressure is too high for everything to go according to plan. Of course I did have some doubts. The biggest problem was the time, whether I would actually get it finished. Then I made a few mistakes that I had to correct. But it all came together in the end.
What tips can you pass on to young building craftsmen and -women?
Rapp: Never despair, even when things don’t go as you expect them to. Always try to enjoy your work. And be conscientious, even with those jobs that you perhaps don’t enjoy so much.
Nafz: The most important thing is to be really passionate about what you do. Without the motivation to each day achieve more than the others, you won’t get very far in these circles! Because the others are also good at what they do! For me it was a big advantage that I had told everybody about my goal. That way I built up pressure on myself and never lost sight of my goal.
The German national team trains regularly at BAU in Munich. Mr. Rapp, you were there in 2017. What was it like to do your work in front of the trade-fair audience?
Rapp: Working in front of a trade-fair audience is something different again to working at the German Championships. At the trade fair thousands of people walk past you every day, many of them craftsmen themselves. That puts added pressure on you. Also at a trade fair you are asked more about working techniques, materials and in particular about construction-related themes.
Best in Guild, Regional Winner, German Champion. You have both achieved a lot already in your young lives. What are your next goals?
Nafz: Next in the diary is the European Carpenters Championships 2018 in October in Luxembourg. Germany will be defending the team title. And of course I want to be there. At the moment we are six apprentices in the team, and only three can take part in the contest. I will do my very best to be one of those three. Apart from this competition, at home in our timber construction business we are expanding tremendously and the business is growing fast. My motto: You never achieve big things by aiming for something small.
Rapp: In terms of competitions, my goal is to prepare well for Euro Skills 2018 in September in Budapest. I want to do well there, to come away with one of the top places. I am looking forward to another year in the national team, as it helps me a lot in my life and my career, apart from all the technical support I get here. Also it’s a great deal of fun getting ready as a team for the competitions. In terms of my career plans, in the next two years I would like to qualify as a master builder and as a building technician.
Published on April 1, 2018