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19 June 2018

Construction students celebrate double success at SkillBuild

There was double success for Wiltshire College students competing in the South West heat of a national construction competition.

Ryan Airey and Chloe Tompkins impressed judges in the new entrant categories for bricklaying and joinery retrospectively at SkillBuild 2018 on Thursday 14th June at South Devon College.

The event, which has been hosted by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) for more than 45 years to identify the very best students from across the country, saw more than 80 full-time students or apprentices take part in several different trades.

Seventeen-year-old Ryan is a Level 2 apprentice based at the Trowbridge campus and said he was thrilled to win the bricklaying category.

He said: “I really enjoyed the competition and was very happy to win.

“About half way through I wasn’t sure that I was doing well, but when I completed my wall I was very happy with it.

“A lecturer from another college came to talk to me and said he was impressed with my work, which was really nice to hear.

“It was great to then be awarded first place and receive a medal and certificate as well as a spirit level as a prize.”

Chloe Tompkins, 17, came third in her first competition and said it has inspired her to do more in the future.

Chloe, who lives in Corsham and has now secured a level 2 apprenticeship after completing her Level 1 in Carpentry and Joinery at the Chippenham campus, said: “This competition has been a great experience and pushed me to use a wide range of skills.

“I’m really thankful to my lecturer George who helped me train for it.

“It was a challenging task with the angles and joints involved but I enjoyed it and would really like to enter in to the advanced category next year.”

Both Joe Paige and Adam Pearce took part in the advanced categories for carpentry and bricklaying, and although not placed, both said they were thrilled to selected for the regional heat by the College and look forward to entering more competitions as they progress through their apprenticeships.

Construction assessor Mark Withey said: “We are extremely proud of all four students who competed at SkillBuild.

“They all worked very hard in the run up to the competition and on the day.

“In Brickwork, we were particularly proud of Ryan who had stiff competition but still came first and Adam whose build in the senior category was really tough.

“He was one of only four competitors to finish the build so he should be very pleased with the effort he put in.”

Steve Ditchburn is Deputy Head of Construction and said: “While observing our learners I could see the concentration and focus.

“They all demonstrated a high skill set to be nominated for entry and on the day produced work to a very high standard, leaving motivated to develop their skills further.

“All of them were great ambassadors for the College and I’ve no doubt will all go far in their chosen careers.”

Well-known faces Chris Frediani and Julian Perryman from BBCs DIY SOS were at SkillBuild to share their tips with students and at the start of the day wished the Wiltshire College students good luck in a special video via social media!

Talking at the event they said: “It is so important to inspire students at a younger age to highlight the potential of a career this industry can provide. Supporting further education and apprenticeships is vital to ensure this industry continues to prosper.”