I commenced Carpentry Joiner Apprenticeship at age 15 in Norwich, England, with H.R. Wilkins & Son under the direction of Master Artisan Ernie Robinson. I worked on cathedral complexes, churches, stately homes and banks. I attended Norwich City Art School and Norwich City College, graduating with credit and a craft certificate in Carpentry Joinery.

At the age of 20, I emigrated to Winnipeg, Canada in June 1970. I continued with education for a further two years, working with companies in northern Canada, and as General Foreman for large Winnipeg companies.

After working for awhile in management, I moved on to self-employment and the world of the entrepreneur. I've had several business interests and partnerships over the years and am grateful for the many opportunities I would have otherwise not encountered.


  • To instill in parents present and future that there is success and great wealth awaiting their creative children through the portal called the Apprenticeship.

  • To re-introduce the carefree apprenticeship of my past.

Insights for the Client

I would like to write a few words to help you find your way through the maze known as the building trade.

  1. First Step from the Maze: Define Who You Need

    My first recommendation would be to know the definition of the tradesperson's skill that you require. For example, I am a Carpentry Joiner-what does that mean?

    Carpenters in general terms are people who should have the skills to complete any installation on site. You may have seen them cutting a roof on a home, framing a house, building forms for the placement of concrete ('cribbing'), hanging doors and installing all that is needed in a home or other structure. True carpenters can turn their hands to all that is required on site. If they cannot, they are not true carpenters.

    A Joiner is a term used more in Europe. The Joiner makes what the carpenter installs. Joiners have solid knowledge of the Joinery Shop, meaning that they work 'at the bench' and would only leave the shop to take on-site measurements. They understand what dovetail and mortise joints are because the goal of a joiner is to join wood with a joint instead of using more crude (and less durable) hardware. The goal is quality, not high speed.

    Beware of the self-named specialist-the person who focuses on the construction of fences and decks but uses the title of 'carpenter'. The best specialist is the person who has been trained in carpentry, joinery, or both. Many people enter the workforce without any fundamental training and you will pay the price for their shortcuts.

  2. Step Two from the Maze: Find Out Where the Person Was Trained The best people have had a five-year apprenticeship, have studied with a Mentor, or both. They will be proud to tell you this information. Look at their past work which relates to what you want them to do. Talk to their past customers.

  3. Step Three from the Maze: Who Would They Contract?

    If you want to take the best road out of the maze, my advice is to follow this analogy: if you are ill, ask a doctor who he or she would allow to operate on his or her children-you will be directed to the very best. If you want to build a high-end home, ask a Carpentry Joiner who he or she would have build their home. They, too, will direct you to the very best.

Follow this plan, and you will find an Artisan.

My Regards,
Martin Askew.

Contact Martin Askew

copyright © 2003 Heart and Hands. All rights reserved.