Students celebrate success at regional competitions

A group of Shrewsbury College students have been successfully placed as the top talent in the region in a variety of Construction Trades.

Six students, studying either Bricklaying, Site Carpentry, Electrical Installation or Plumbing at Shrewsbury College, recently took part in the regional stage of the UK SkillBuild competition - with five students coming out top with three first places, a second place and a third place.

SkillBuild is the UK’s biggest and longest running competition looking for construction skill and talent that’s built to last. The competition, which has been running for over 45 years, sees the best in construction talent compete against each other to be crowned the SkillBuild winner in their chosen trade.

Joe Northall, aged 23 from Chirk, who has been an apprentice bricklayer at Shingler Homes for under a year, fought off the extremely talented individuals to win first place in the UK SkillBuild in Bricklaying. Joe said: “I’m really pleased to win the regional finals, I wasn’t expecting to win but this is a really great achievement and I’m grateful my work has been recognised.”

Luke Vaughan, aged 19 from Shrewsbury was placed second in the region for UK SkillBuild Plumbing. Luke, who is an apprentice at Lee Turner in Shrewsbury, said: “I wasn’t expecting to be placed in the top three. I am really happy about my achievement and how the competition went.”

Marc Marshall, aged 20 from Telford also performed extremely well in the UK SkillBuild in Electrical Installation, winning first place in the region. Marc is currently an apprentice at Courtland Properties in Telford and said: “It was quite daunting at first but once the competition was underway it was really enjoyable, I was totally shocked to win first place but I’m really pleased with the result.”

Andy Balmer, aged 24 from Baschurch and Nick Damerum, aged 20 from Cressage, both entered the UK SkillBuild in Site Carpentry. Both Andy and Nick were placed in the top three in the region – Andy is currently an apprentice at J.R Slee in Condover and said: “This is the second time I’ve won first place at the regional finals of SkillBuild Site Carpentry. I’m hoping to progress to the nationals this year. I’m really pleased to have won as I’ve put a lot of hard work into it and it’s nice to be recognised for my work.”

Nick, who came third place in the same competition and currently an apprentice at English Construction in Shrewsbury said: “It was my first time at the SkillBuild competition and it’s been a fantastic experience. I’m really thrilled to have been placed in the top three in the region. It’s given me the motivation to work towards first place next year.”  

Oliver Farrell, Product Manager for SkillBuild, said: “SkillBuild is an excellent way of showcasing talented young people in the construction industry, and the competition provides them with the opportunity to develop their skills and compete against fellow apprentices. If they are successful, they could reach the SkillBuild National Finals and then potentially progress onto WorldSkills international competitions. SkillBuild can be the start of a successful, rewarding career in the construction industry.”

Stuart Raine, Curriculum Lead for Construction Trades at Shrewsbury College, said: “This year Construction has entered six apprentices into Bricklaying, Electrical Installation, Plumbing and Site Carpentry. I am extremely proud of all the apprentices who competed in the regional heats. In all we came away with three firsts, a second and a third place. This is a tribute to their fantastic ability. They have demonstrated accurate plan interpretation and setting out, high skill, attention to detail and precision together with producing a neat finish that meets the high specifications set by the competition. The brilliant results achieved show that they have what it takes to be outstanding in their respective trades. With three apprentices gaining first place in Bricklaying, Electrical Installation and Site Carpentry confirms that we have some very highly talented young apprentices at Shrewsbury College”.

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