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Outstanding students Joshua Underwood and Oliver Takhar have been chosen as winners at the Believe in Somerset Awards.
 

Their success comes just weeks after the SkillBuild 2017 UK National Final, where both students did exceptionally well in their categories.
 

After a tough three-day competition, Joshua won a silver medal in stonemasonry and painting and decorating student Oliver was selected to train with the WorldSkills UK squad.
 

Joshua and Oliver’s success has led to local recognition of the important part colleges play in developing construction skills.
 

Josh and Ollie with Bath College lecturers Graham Walmsley and Ray Sumner
 

Judges for the Believe in Somerset Awards were impressed with their hard work, as well as their dedication and commitment to their trade.
 

They chose Joshua for the Apprentice of the Year Award and Oliver for the Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award.
 

Josh, an apprentice at Architectural Stone in Cardiff, said: “Quite a lot has happened for me this year, which has made it go really quickly.
 

“I didn’t expect to win at the SkillBuild final or to win this award as a result. I’ve just been focusing on getting my head down and working hard.
 

“Every student should get involved with the skills competitions, you’ve got nothing to lose so you might as well give it a go.
 

“If you put the effort in it’s a good way to improve and get better at masonry, because you’re under pressure and you have to work quickly.
 

“It teaches you to work quickly and accurately, which is what you need to do in industry in order to secure a job.”
 


 

The Believe in Somerset Awards are organised by the Somerset Guardian to celebrate and recognise local community achievements.
 

Finalists were invited for dinner at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the Haynes International Motor Museum in Sparkford.
 

This gave nominees the chance to meet, and to hear about each other’s work as fundraisers, volunteers, teachers and community heroes.
 

Painting and decorating tutor Graham Walmsley said: “Some of the award entries were quite humbling, especially the winner for the Child of Courage Award.
 

“They did stress the fact that we have a wealth of talent in Somerset, and the awards ceremony was about celebrating that.
 

“I think we as a college strive to develop students, to realise their potential by giving them opportunities and making lessons as challenging as possible.
 

“As students, Ollie and Josh are outstanding. They have done well repeatedly and we have put a lot of time and effort into developing their confidence.
 

“It’s great to get recognition for the work that we do, and recognition for the quality of work our students produce.”
 

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