Bath College have four students who are competing in WorldSkills UK live, the home of the UK National Finals of more than 70 WorldSkills UK Competitions, giving the most talented apprentices and students the chance to be named as the UK’s best in their chosen skill.
The competitions challenge and assess an individual’s applied knowledge, technical ability and employability skills against a set of performance criteria, with finalists competing for gold, silver and bronze medals and the opportunity to be selected to join Squad UK to train for future international competitions.
Two Refrigeration students, Chandler and Kevin, have made the top six for SkillFRIDGE as well as two Stonemasonry students who have made the top eight for Stonemasonry in SkillBuild.
Bath College is the only training provider in the 2018 SkillFRIDGE competition to see two of its students make the top six: Chandler Davison and Kevin Ballantine.
Chandler (pictured above), who has topped the national rankings and will be the recipient of the SkillFRIDGE National Winner accolade, is employed by Thermocold Ltd – a family-run business working in and around the South West region – and is set to complete his four year apprenticeship course in September.
Speaking on what led him into the refrigeration and air conditioning industry, Chandler said: “It was a great apprenticeship programme to enter at college and was a subject that I was interested in, especially due to the fact that my Dad has worked in the industry his entire life.”
Kevin spent fifteen years in other trades before pursuing a career in RACHP (refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump systems), after his elder brother asked him to partner with him and start their own company; TKB Air Conditioning.
Following a year on the tools, Kevin opted for a course with Bath College. He notes: “We decided it would be beneficial for me to get a qualification in the industry to help us progress further.
“I signed up to a two-year apprenticeship with a possibility of doing a third after. I’ve just completed my first year and it’s all going well so far.”
Josh Underwood and Hartaj Hunjan (pictured above) came first and second in the regional heats of the SkillBuild Stonemasonry competition in the stonemasonry workshop at the Somer Valley Campus and have now made it to the final at WorldSkills UK live.
Hartaj is delighted to have made the final: “I was quite surprised to finish where I did as I tried last year and didn’t quite make it. It’s great to see how much I’ve improved in a year.”
Hartaj has just finished the Stonemasonry course at Bath College and is an apprentice at A F Jones Stonemasons Ltd.
“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship as they are enabling me to hone my skills. It’s a great way to learn and improve, as eventually I would like to go self-employed.”
Josh is also doing an apprenticeship at a Stonemasonry business, his is with Phidias Neo Classical, based in Bristol. After his apprenticeship finishes he would also like to start a business.
Paul Maggs, Stonemasonry lecturer at Bath College is very impressed with his students: “We are incredibly proud of Josh and Hartaj who worked so hard for the competition.
“To have our only two competitors enter the final is a real testament to their talent.”
WorldSkills UK live takes place on 15th-17th November at the NEC Birmingham.