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Bath College Apprentice wins gold at WorldSkills UK Competition 2019

 

The WorldSKills UK Live final, November 21-23, saw the SkillFRIDGE finalists go head to head to compete for the coveted gold medal.

 

The finals were held at the NEC in Birmingham and spanned several convention halls, where hundreds of apprentices from a wide range of industries came together to compete to be the best in their sector. The atmosphere was filled with the nerves and excitement of the young competitors, all focussed on their own specialities.

 

After competing in regional heats, seven RACHP apprentices made it to the WorldSkills Final. Whilst being scrutinised by the judges, the apprentice’s skills were assessed as they completed a total of four tasks.

 

Sidney Copus, Bath College Refrigeration and Airconditioning Apprentice, who won the national SkillFRIDGE trophy, was the front runner going into the WorldSkills Final. In addition to the 2019 apprentices, visitors also saw the return of SkillFRIDGE’s 2018 winner, Dominic Dray, as he competed for a place on Team UK.

 

 

Keith Nichols, ex-training manager from Airedale, returns to judge the SkillFRIDGE competition annually, he noted: “I enjoy doing this each year, it really feels like giving back.”

 

WorldSkills isn’t only about technical standards, but about finding people who are truly passionate about the industry, who exhibit other skills like motivation and determination, but finding someone who could go onto the international competitions too. But following the first task of the competition the apprentices were feeling the pressure.

 

David Dunn, sales managing director of Toshiba Carrier UK, said: “SkillFRIDGE is a superb initiative. It challenges and rewards young trainees to improve their skills and knowledge, and pursue excellence. We are delighted to once again be supporting the competition as headline sponsor, and look forward to the SkillFRIDGE 2020 events planned for next year.”

 

Toshiba Carrier, the headline sponsor of SkillFRIDGE, provided a range of equipment for this year’s competition, including Y-joints and headers for the piping test rigs and graphical recreations of Toshiba outdoor units. The company also supplied a number of controls rigs equipped with various interfaces, including its remote controllers and Touch Screen controller.

 

Another piece of equipment featured at the final was the JAVAC Nitrogen Regulator. It is suitable for testing systems which use R410A refrigerant gas and allows for 300 bar maximum inlet pressure and has a 0-50 bar outlet pressure range. It also includes a ‘T-bar’ handle designed to protect the gauges from impact should the gas bottle get knocked.

 

On Saturday, the final day of the competition, the apprentices came together to participate in a surprise Saturday feature led by Jacinta Caden.

 

The feature was based around the classic construction game, marble run, which kept the competitors engaged whilst showcasing their skills to the public without the stress of competing. The task enabled them to use almost all the skills they needed for the competition, as well as showing their ability to follow direction and work as part of a team.

 

With the theme of this year’s WorldSkills event being ‘Mental Strength’, it is important to draw attention to the benefits events like this can provide. Former SkillFRIDGE competitor, Chris Baillie, acted as a judge at this year’s competition, he noted: “This competition changed my life.”

 

He continued: “I used to suffer from quite bad anxiety, I even used to get sick before competing, but through this competition I was able to improve my confidence and communication skills, as well as my skills within the sector. I like being a judge now because I know what they are going through, I’ve been through it. Knowing what competing did for me, along with the support and help I received from the judges, is what really motivated me to keep participating. I like the idea that I can give that back to the younger generation.”

 

Following the two days of competition and Saturday’s feature task, the Gold medal was awarded to Sidney Copus, Bath College Apprentice with Space Engineering, certifying him as the SkillFRIDGE Champion of 2019. He commented:

“I’m feeling very happy about my win and extremely relieved. After coming top in the regionals, I felt quite a bit of pressure to get a win in the finals and the step up in difficulty was a bit of a surprise. The win’s given me a little confidence boost, but the biggest thing about it for me is all the support and messages I’ve got from my lecturers, colleagues and friends. Everyone has been really supportive the whole way through and I’m glad to be able to win it for Space and Bath College!”

 

Ben Wilson of Knights Engineers claimed Silver and Joshua Collins of JD Cooling came away with the Bronze.

 

In preparing for the competition and keeping cool under pressure, Silver medallist Ben commented that:

“I just made sure I was healthy and drinking enough water, concentrating on the task ahead. It was a challenging but great week; I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

 

He also noted his passion for the industry, saying: “I love that in that you come across new things every day and you never get bored. There’s always more to learn and you get as much out of it as you put in in.”

 

Mr Dunn added in response to the results of the competition: “On behalf of TCUK congratulations to all those who took part in this year’s competition. As the industry’s national event, it takes a high level of skill, determination and composure to make it through to the finals, and this year was no exception. My warmest congratulations to Sidney on becoming the UK’s SkillFRIDGE champion 2019. We wish you all success for your future career.”

 

With the current skills crisis occurring in the UK competitions and events like WorldSkills UK are more important than ever. Encouraging young people to pursue careers within engineering industries should be one of the top priorities for schools, as well as the government as the political environment changes.

 

Ethan Conlon, stonemasonry apprentice at Bath College

News

Bath College stonemason Ethan Conlon to compete in Russia at WorldSkills 2019

 

Bath College apprentice, Ethan Conlon, has been travelling around the world preparing to demonstrate his stonemasonry skills against the world’s best.
 
He will compete with finalists from 60 countries at WorldSkills 2019 in Kazan in Russia next month.
 

The 18-year-old will compete in the architectural stonemasonry category after triumphing over stonemasons from across the country earlier this year.
 

Ethan, who studies at Bath College and is also an apprentice with APS Stonemasonry in Oxford, was selected for the college’s shortlist for WorldSkills back in early 2018 after impressing lecturers with his natural ability and commitment.
 
Ethan Conlon at workHe was invited to compete for a place in Team UK for WorldSkills Kazan 2019 after excelling in the WorldSkills UK National Competitions.
 
After taking part in a four-day competition, he was chosen to join Team UK. He received 10 weeks of specialist training and is now off to Kazan as Team UK’s only stonemason in the squad of 30.
 

Joe Leber, Stonemasonry Lecturer at Bath College said: “We are delighted that Ethan is off to compete at world skills in Kazan 2019, we are very proud of him and wish him the very best of luck! He is a fantastic young mason.”
 

Ahead of the competition, which takes place from 22nd – 27th August, the teenager has built up his experience by travelling to competitions in Russia and Brazil for final preparation.
 

WorldSkills UK is responsible for selecting, developing and training the team for the WorldSkills Competition. A partnership between business, education and governments, WorldSkills UK runs skills competitions for thousands of young people every year in key economic skill areas, boosting the technical skills, mindset and employability skills of young people.
 

Visit worldskills2019.com for more information.
 

News

Bath College Stonemasonry Student on Road to Russia

 

A stonemasonry student from Bath College is taking on their toughest skills challenge to date this week, when they compete against other stonemasons to try and win a place to represent the UK at WorldSkills Kazan 2019 this summer.
 

Known as the ‘Skills Olympics’, the WorldSkills Competition sees the world’s best apprentices and students battle it out to win Gold, Silver and Bronze in their chosen skill. The UK is currently tenth in the WorldSkills rankings following its medal success at the last WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi in 2017.
 
Ethan Conlon, who studies at Bath College and is also an apprentice with APS Stonemasonry in Oxford, was invited to compete for a place in Team UK for WorldSkills Kazan 2019 after excelling in the WorldSkills UK National Competitions. He will compete from 4 – 7 March at York College.
 
Joe Leber, Stonemasonry Lecturer at Bath College said: “We are delighted that Ethan has reached the final three for selection to compete at world skills in Kazan 2019, we are very proud of him and wish him the very best of luck in the final selection stage next week!”
 
WorldSkills UK is responsible for selecting, developing and training the team for the WorldSkills Competition. A partnership between business, education and governments, WorldSkills UK runs skills competitions for thousands of young people every year in key economic skill areas, boosting the technical skills, mindset and employability skills of young people.
 
Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK said: “I wish Ethan the very best of luck as he competes for a place in the team to represent the UK at WorldSkills Kazan 2019.
 
“By entering the WorldSkills Competition, we can transfer the insights gained from competing against other countries into the wider economy, driving up training standards in the UK to world-class levels, boosting productivity.”
 
Team UK for WorldSkills Kazan 2019 will be announced on 11 March.
 
Inspired by Ethan? WorldSkills UK is looking for apprentices and students to take part in WorldSkills Shanghai 2021. Register at www.worldskillsuk.org by 5 April and see how far your skills can take you.
 

 

Chandler next to SkillFridge poster

Construction & Engineering, News, Student Spotlight

Four Bath College students make WorldSkills UK competition final

 

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 and Hartaj, by Skillbuild poster
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.
 

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