British Gypsum’s National Technical Training Representative, David Kehoe tells us all about the SkillBuild 2017 UK National Final
It’s been a busy couple of months. Not long ago I was retuning from Abu Dhabi after mentoring members of Squad UK at this year’s WorldSkills competition. Now, I’m back from my travels again, after visiting the Skills Show, the UK’s largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event. Held at the NEC Birmingham, this year’s event was visited by more than 80,000 people looking to discover a huge range of career opportunities to further their young careers.
As well as being a great networking event for developing professional relationships, the Skills Show serves as the host event for the SkillBuild 2017 UK National Final. Throughout the competitions the very finest in their respective skills competed to be named the best in the UK and be selected on Squad UK for next year’s EuroSkills Budapest 2018 and WorldSkills in Kazan 2019.
As a company dedicated to helping nurture young talent and an ardent supporter of WorldSkills in general, British Gypsum sponsored the Plastering and Plastering & Drywall System competitions at this year’s event. Each section was equipped with a range of our premium plaster products for the young competitors to use such as Gyproc Easi-Fill and Thistle MultiFinish, and had keen representatives on hand to deal with any issues or queries.
As part of SkillBuild a number of different competitions took place across the Skills Show venue covering 55 different skill sets, along with 26 competitors with learning difficulties who participated in inclusive skills competitions. The event was adjudicated by industry professionals in each category who were tasked with picking the best competitors in each field.
With help from my British Gypsum colleagues, who were overlooking the event, competitors in the plastering showcase were tasked with creating a wall embossed with a special British Gypsum logo designed to celebrate our centenary.
I was really impressed with the levels of commitment and hard work from those in the plastering showcase. The finished projects looked terrific, with Yagoub Mohamed of City of Liverpool College claiming the top prize. Haralds Jonans of Derby College was awarded the silver medal with Antonio Cupaiolo of College of North West London and David Scott of Craven College sharing the bronze medal.
I was even more involved in the Plastering & Drywall Systems section alongside Colin McCaughey from the Construction Industry Training Board. Together we set the team an ambitious but achievable task, to complete a build from start to finish before the event was over. We estimated the project would take around 12 hours to build the model, with seven hours needed for finishing.
The task was designed to incorporate different elements, which challenged all aspects required to be an expert in plastering and drywall solutions. I’m pleased to say everyone had a really good go at the challenge, with Sean Dooner from Barking and Dagenham College named the overall winner.
Enthusiastic participants Curtis Johnston, South Eastern Regional College, Matthew Low, Coleg Menai and Glenn McArdle, Southern Regional College were the students selected to represent Squad UK for next year’s EuroSkills Budapest 2018 and WorldSkills in Kazan 2019.
The Skills Show and associated SkillBuild competition were a real success, underlining the enthusiasm of young people in this country to acquire essential skills and help tackle the skills shortage. With so much discussion surrounding the ongoing skills crisis in our industry it is reassuring to see that the next generation of professionals is waiting in the wings.
I’d like to congratulate everyone who took part in the event and I also wish all those selected to take part in the next leg of the competition the very best of luck.