Everything is awesome! Life-long Lego fan lands dream ‘master builder’ job after 18 years as supermarket shelf stacker
A supermarket worker has swapped stacking shelves for stacking colourful bricks after landing his dream job of playing with LEGO all day.
Life-long Lego addict James Windle beat 1,000 others to land the role as a master Lego builder at the Lego Discovery Centre in Manchester.
The 34 year old from Manchester, who still gets given Lego as a Christmas present every year, previously worked as a general assistant at Tesco for 18 years.
Now James is one of only 24 master builders in the world – spending his days creating and building Lego masterpieces.
James went through a gruelling interview process including having to present his designs to a panel of children – and was told he’d bagged the job by a 10ft model shark knocking on his door.
James, who started the job earlier this month, said: “To be told I’d got it felt like the start of my new journey.
“It’s my dream job to work with Lego and get to do something creative. I’m living my best life.
“It’s just awesome – I get to play with Lego all day, get paid for it and get to see how happy it makes the kids and parents.
“Lego has always been a passion for me since about the age of four.
“I got my first set for Christmas and used to get a set for every birthday and Christmas from my mum. She stills buys one for me every Christmas. I just never grew out of it.
“I’ve got a Lego tattoo on my arm – it’s a mini figure that I can draw on. I can draw a happy or sad face or colour it in.
“I like Lego because I get to use my creativity and imagination and build whatever I want.
“My head is full of ideas and Lego is one of those products you can play with and there’s never a wrong or right answer. If you build something you can break it up and make it again.
“I find it so relaxing and it’s good for the brain.
“Now I’m working with Lego it’s like I’m a kid in a candy shop, it’s so much fun. I have all these ideas running through my head and I can order parts and create.”
James’s home is full of his creations including a decorated mirror, a huge Millennium falcon and glass cases filled with models.
He reckons he’s got thousands of bricks and loves sharing his passion with his nephews and nieces.
Having a background in fashion, James decided it was time to make use of his creativity and decided to go for it when people suggested he apply for the role of master Lego builder
James said: “I worked in the supermarket for many years and it got to the point where people were saying ‘why are you here? Why are you not using your creative talents?’
“I studied fashion at university and I try to incorporate that into my Lego creations.
“I saw the job advert when it was posted on social media. Everyone knows I like Lego and my friends and family were telling me to go for it so I thought I would.
“I sent them pictures of things I’d built with Lego or models that I’d built. I was shortlisted from 1,000 people then it was like an X Factor-style competition with various stages.
“I got to the stage where I was competing against 50 other people and we had 30 minutes to build something. I built a unicorn and master truck which I called the Unicornator.
“We were also asked to build something that was meaningful for us so I built a Manchester Pride stage with musicians.
“There were 12 children between the age of four and 12 in the audience to judge what we’d made.
“I got the call saying I’d made the top four and was invited in for a formal interview.
“I found out I’d got the job after a 10ft shark knocked on my door. I answered it and there was a shark mascot saying ‘you’re hired’.
“I was in complete shock. I was like ‘are you kidding me?’
“I thought that says something about a company – the way they made all that effort. I felt like it was a really cool company and it’s going to be a lot of fun.
“I held back the tears and when everyone left did a silent scream and got the prosecco out.
“My mum is very proud and that’s what it’s about – making your mum proud.
“I’d been thinking for a while about changing jobs but I never thought this would happen.
“As I went through the process I was getting more confident but a few weeks ago I’d never have imagined this.”
James said a typical day is spent creating and maintaining models and he’s now busy making things for Halloween – including a giant spider to crawl up a model of Manchester town hall and a zombie Alton Towers scene.
And he’s thinking of getting a new hobby now he’s spending eight hours a day playing with Lego.
James, who’s spent about £40 a month on his passion, said: “I’d say I have thousands and thousands of bricks. I couldn’t tell you how many, but I pass a lot of it on to my nieces and nephews.
“Luckily I get a discount now. I try to keep my displays tasteful. A lot of it is in frames or in cabinets and I’ve got a big Millennium falcon.
“Now I’m building Lego for about eight hours a day. Before I would probably spend two or three hours a night playing with it after work. I found it very therapeutic.”
General Manager Manchester Cluster, Merlin Entertainments, Jenn McDonough, said: “We had thousands of applicants apply for the role – as you can imagine it’s incredibly sought-after.
“We chose James because he’s absolutely perfect for the job – he’s incredibly creative, talented, outgoing and patient and the kids love him, of course.
“We’re delighted to welcome James into the Merlin family, and I can’t wait to see him inspire families for years to come.”