– Sustainable timber and digital tools key for 800 toys delivered to charities

Sisk carpentry and joinery apprentices at its Dublin training centre are celebrating 50 years of its toy-making tradition that will see an estimated 800 handcrafted toys delivered to children’s charities and hospitals across Ireland, the UK, and Europe in time for Christmas.

The Sisk toy story is part of a long-standing tradition that was started by John G Sisk at its Naas Road workshop, with an estimated 20,000 handmade toys produced by its apprentices over the past 50 years.


Sisk toy story

The construction industry is embracing new ways of working. Sustainability and digital tools are now fundamental to Sisk and its toy-making tradition. This year, the Sisk team have made a conscious effort to make more wooden-based retro toys, including rocking horses, trucks and art stations.

Sustainable materials

These have been handcrafted using 70% recycled wooden materials from timber off-cuts received from Sisk construction sites nationwide. Some of the timber materials include medium-density fibreboard (MDF),  with much of this coming from disused site hoarding and signage.

Traditionally, the team has sourced ideas from books and feedback from the charities that have received toys in the past. Digital construction has now modernised its toy-making approach, with all of this year’s toys being designed using digital tools with its apprentices now having the skillset and capability to create its toys. A CAD programme is now utilised, which has significantly reduced the time needed to design the toys.

One-third of the toys are delivered to Sisk construction sites to donate to local charities, and the following two-thirds of toys are delivered by its apprentices to children’s charities and hospitals throughout Ireland.

The first deliveries of toys commenced on 05 December, going to Irish, UK and European

Sisk sites, with the Sisk elves delivering its toys right up to Thursday, 21 December just in time for Christmas.

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A Sisk Christmas tradition

Ronan Murphy, Sisk Joinery and Training Manager, said, “Our toy story is culturally engrained into the business and is a testament to the family culture within Sisk. It gives perspective to our apprentices and is a real eye-opener for our new younger trainees who come back from children’s hospital visits with a real sense of appreciation.”

He added: “Our apprentices participate in the whole toy-making lifecycle, having physically produced the toys right down to delivering them into the hands of the end user. In this case, they are usually sick or disadvantaged children. This initiative gives everyone connected with Sisk a real sense of pride and is a key part of our apprenticeship programme that enables us to mould good people upon completing their time with us.”

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