Students named finalists in national skills competition

Two Higher Education students from Shrewsbury College have been named finalists in a prestigious national construction skills competition and are due to compete for a winning place later this month.

Martin Mihal, 31 from Slovakia, currently living in Shrewsbury and Robert Kurpiewski, 27, from Poland and currently living in Telford, are both trainee engineers, studying the Foundation Degree in Electrical and Electronic Technology at Shrewsbury College. They were named finalists during the regional heats earlier this year and have since been preparing to battle it out in the intense three day WorldSkills UK final, which will be held at the NEC, Birmingham. 

WorldSkills UK competitions inspire young people and adults to be ambitious in their pursuit of skills to the highest level. The UK national competitions are designed to test competitors’ skills in a range of critical elements that demonstrate excellence in their chosen trade.

Each year, Shrewsbury College students from a variety of subject areas enter into the competition to test and enhance their industry skills and with a good track record of finalists and winners, the College is hopeful for this year’s outcome.

John Watts, Engineering Tutor at the College, said: “Martin and Robert have both been working exceptionally hard, not just for this competition but for their foundation degree course.

“We always try and encourage students from all areas of the skills-based subjects in the College to enter the WorldSkills competition, as not only does it give the students the chance to focus on a project outside of the classroom scenario, it helps to boost their confidence and skills when competing against students of all ages and backgrounds across the whole country.”

The competition is designed for two individuals to work as a team, testing their logic, design and fault finding skills in a challenging environment.

“Although we both entered the competition last year, this is the first time we will be attending the competition finals at the NEC,” explained Martin Mihal. “This is a massive competition and thousands of people attend the event.

“We both want to gain as much experience as possible so that it will help us when we leave the course and to hopefully progress in our current jobs at Muller in Minsterely.

Robert Kurpiewski, said: “We have been practising hard for this competition and have been working on the project at home in our spare time. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that we are looking forward to the competition, and although it will be challenging and we will be up against strong candidates, we are both pretty confident.”

Success in most WorldSkills UK Competitions can lead to representing the UK at the WorldSkills International Competition.

Students from other curriculum areas at the College will also be attending the WorldSkills UK final, including Construction and Paining & Decorating. The competition will coincide with the national Skillsbuild show on Friday, 14 November.

For more information about Engineering courses at Shrewsbury College please call Course Advice on 01743 342411 or visit www.shrewsbury.ac.uk or alternatively you can come along to our Open Evening on Thursday, 13 November, 4.30 – 7.30pm.

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