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Edinburgh College hosts top construction trainees for ‘skills Olympics’

Top construction trainees from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been named as competitors at the SkillBuild National Finals 2022.

SkillBuild is delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in partnership with WorldSkills UK, often dubbed the ‘skills Olympics.’ Over 80 finalists made it through the qualifying rounds, which were held at various colleges across the UK earlier this year.

Preparations for this year’s finals are now in full swing, set to take place at Edinburgh College from tomorrow and conclude on Thursday evening (15 to 17 November), marked by a closing ceremony. This is the first time the annual event is being hosted at Edinburgh College, with last year’s held at CITB’s National Construction College in Bircham Newton, Norfolk.

With an 18-hour project to complete, participants will be tested not only on their technical abilities, but on their time management, problem solving and skills working under pressure.

Tim Balcon, CITB Chief Executive, said: “The current skills gap, as well as a demand for more workers present huge challenges. SkillBuild is just one of the many initiatives detailed in our Business Plan that aims to address the skills demand, by focusing on attracting and retaining new talent into industry.

“SkillBuild is a fantastic opportunity to sharpen and increase your employability skills, providing a platform for the best of the best in construction technical education. To make it through to the National Finals is a fantastic achievement, and all the competitors should be incredibly proud of themselves. I wish them the very best of luck as they take to the stage in Edinburgh this week!”

Ben Blackledge, Deputy Director, WorldSkills UK said: “Good luck to all those competing at Edinburgh College.

“WorldSkills UK’s competition-based programmes help apprentices and students grow personally and professionally by developing their technical and employability skills, as well as shining a light on the amazing skilled potential in the UK.”

Audrey Cumberford, Edinburgh College Principal and CEO, said: “We’re delighted to be hosting WorldSkills UK National Finals with SkillBuild at our Granton Campus.

“Skills competitions like these are terrific spectacles and offer a platform for apprentices and students to thrive, and for other young people and those perhaps looking to change jobs to learn more about careers in these highly-skilled disciplines – supporting the need to plug skills gaps within the Construction sector.

“We look forward to welcoming competitors, lecturers and delegates from all four corners of the UK to our College for what is set to be a fantastic week of competition finals.”

Gracie Brill, SkillBuild joinery finalist, said: “I have really enjoyed the competition so far! The regional heat was super fun, and a really enjoyable challenge. I tend to overanalyse and spend too long perfecting things, so it was great to be able to push myself in a different way through engaging in a timed challenge.

“Honestly, I couldn’t quite believe I’d got through to the finals! It’s such an interesting, unique opportunity, which I have already learnt so much from - I’m really excited to have the chance to compete at the finals!”

School groups from across Edinburgh and the Lothians will also be attending to see the competitions and to take in a visitor experience exhibition, which will provide further insight into careers in construction and life at college. Winners of the SkillBuild National Finals 2022 will be announced on 25 November from 4pm, live on the Channel 4 show, Steph’s Packed Lunch.

The competitions and finalists are as follows:  

Bricklaying

Jago Gamblin, Fareham College – College Campus; Joseph Gleed, New College Swindon; Jacob Tromans, Cartrefi Ffosaron Homes Ltd; Darren Boggs, Borders College; Shaun Baker, East Coast College – Lowestoft Campus; Jake Howard, Southern Regional College – Newry Campus; Mathew Carswell, Southern Regional College – Newry Campus; Callum Wilson, Southern Regional College – Newry Campus

Carpentry

Ewan Rookes, York College; Robin Luscombe, South Devon College; Andrew Elam, Royal Signal MoD; Eliot Duff, Building Crafts College; Osian James, Colege Ceredigion – Cardigan Campus; Ben Price, Shrewsbury Colleges Group; George Clarke, Warwickshire College – Moreton Morrell College; Sammy Young, NPTC Group – Neath College

Foundation Skills: Woodworking (virtual heat)

Adam Szewc; Dantina Gillett; Kate Norton; Matthew McCarthy; Oliver Sayers; Oliver Tudor; Sam Johnson

Furniture and Cabinet Making

Conor Ellis, Coleg Ceredigion – Cardigan Campus; Joshua Fox, Moulton College; Stephanie Reilly, Moulton College; Ciaran Baggott, Moulton College; Thomas Knowles, Chichester College Group; Isaac Farmer, Chichester College Group; Jamie Armstrong, Chichester College Group; Kye Allen, Chichester College Group

Joinery

Gracie Brill, The Ridge Foundations; Jack Corner, Norton Joinery Ltd; David Walker, York College; Harry Scolding, Solihull College; Connor Dallas, Northern Regional College – Ballymoney; David Fairley, South Eastern Regional College – Lisburn Campus; Steffan Thomas, Coleg Ceredigion – Cardigan Campus; Dion Evans, Coleg Ceredigion – Cardigan Campus

Painting and Decorating

Dior Regan, Lincoln College; Paul Mason, NPTC Group – Neath College; Joshua Thompson, Dudley College – The Broadway; Jade Oakes, Riverside College, Hattie Parnham, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College – South Wigston; Claire McPhillips, Bell Group UK; Jacqui Hawthorne, Southern Regional College – Newry Campus; Courtney Rowland, Newcastle College

Plastering

Josh McBride, Southern Regional College – Newry Campus; Josh Woosnam, Grwp Llandrillo Menai – Llangefni; Thomas Devine, Grwp Llandrillo Menai – Llangefni; Jordan McQuillan, City of Glasgow College – City Campus; Jack Holmes, NPTC Group – Swansea Construction Centre; Joshua Lovell, Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College; Jonathan Donaldson, NPTC Group – Swansea Construction Centre; Kieran Roworth, Wigan and Leigh College – Wigan

Plastering and Drywall Systems

George Batchelor, Measom Dryline; Ben Henry, Errigal Contracts; Ashley Carragher, Errigal Contracts; Hugh Treanor, Errigal Contracts; Archie Downham, Measom Dryline; Shaun McKenna, Errigal Contracts; Zara Dupont, Leeds College of Building; Prince Senyah, Errigal Contracts

Roofing: Slating and Tiling

Jordan Maley, South Lanarkshire College; Jacob Blight, South Devon College; Aeron Murray, Leeds College of Building; Kyron Sharlotte, Leeds College of Building; Joshua Easton, Leeds College of Building; Nile Moore, South Devon College; Benjamin Jones, Bolton College

Stonemasonry (virtual heat)

Calum Peach; Douglas Stevens; James Lewis; Luke Maher; Marcus Nicol; Marlene Lagnado; Niall Smee

Wall and Floor Tiling 

Robert McCrea, City of Glasgow College – City Campus; Morgan Nutt, North West Regional College – Greystone; Sean Mcelhinney, City of Glasgow College – City Campus; Aram Elbadian, Cardiff and Vale College – City Centre Campus; Aaron Brady, Leeds College of Building; Conor Braniff, Southern Regional College – Newry Campus; Conor Nugent, Southern Regional College – Newry Campus

If you or someone you know is interested in taking part next year, visit Go Construct for more information. You can also interact and keep up to date with this year’s finals by using ‘#SkillBuild2022’ across social media and by following CITB’s social media platforms.