BUILDER Zachary Woods is through to the semi-finals of a prestigious national competition.

The 22-year-old, who runs Z Woods Creations, is in the running to be Screwfix Top Tradesperson for 2020.

He has been selected for his passion, determination to succeed and demonstrating how he goes above and beyond the call of duty.

Now he hopes to be one of ten tradespeople to make it through to the final, with virtual semi-finals taking place this month.

A £20,000 trade bundle is up for grabs for the lucky winner, including tools, a training budget and technology to help them take their business to the next level.

“If I were to get through to the final, I'd be over the moon and it would demonstrate all my hard work has paid off," said Mr Woods, who set up his company in January and is the Gazette's latest Trader of the Week.

"I'm overwhelmed and still in shock just to be in the semi-finals.

"I was extremely worried about what my future held but, since starting out, I haven’t stopped.

"I hope to expand and continue to take on bigger and better projects.

"I may only be young and new to the game but I feel this will set my business up for the future.”

Ten tradespeople will be selected to take part in a virtual final, where trade experts will interview the finalists and select this year’s winner.

The judging panel includes representatives from trade bodies and 2019 winner Darren McGhee.

Mr Woods, who lives in Coggeshall, says he has been busier than ever during the covid-19 pandemic.

"I started my own creative interior, exterior design and build business at the start of the year and it's been nerve-racking, challenging but also extremely rewarding," he said.

"Where most businesses were closing their doors during the pandemic, I found myself getting busier than I ever expected.

"Lockdown didn't stop me growing my business as I was still able to work outside.

"I've had increased demand for garden design and build work.

"And I've provided house maintenance services for vulnerable and elderly people, including decking and ramps for wheelchair access to enable a disabled person to use their garden."

Mr Woods, who has one full-time employee, clearly has creative juices running through his body.

At the start of a new job he designs a package that allows customers to view their build in 3D.

He said: "I normally start my work by producing a mood board for the customer, showing colour schemes, styles and materials, giving them an exciting visual impression.

"My latest job is converting an old shepherd's hut for a lady who is starting a glamping holiday business, as demand for holidays in this country are now in high demand.

"I provide a full-design package which allows the customer to view their build in 3D.

"I've never run my own business before but have had various jobs within construction and design.

"I have a background in carpentry, graphic design and illustration which, put together, enables me to offer a unique service.

"I take on a project from producing initial design concepts right through to construction and build and have generated a lot of interest for future work."