Supporting the next generation at SkillBuild

Date: 30 July 2018

We recently visited SkillBuild’s event in York to follow the next generation of plastering and drylining professionals, as they put their skills to the test.

For more than 50 years British Gypsum has been investing in young talent with initiatives such as the Thistle Partnership and support for events like SkillBuild, where this month our Technical Support and Training Representative, David Kehoe, was a judge in the Plastering and Drywall Systems category.

SkillBuild has been running regional qualifiers throughout the UK since March, which we have been helping to support. The recent event at York College was a fantastic day, which highlighted the amazing work that’s being done to bring the next generation of talented tradespeople into the industry.

As the biggest and longest running construction skills competition, SkillBuild plays a crucial role in helping foster the next generation of plastering and drylining professionals. The series of competitions, delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) sees the very best compete against each other to be crowned a winner in their chosen trade.

We supply a range of products to the event, including our Gypframe metal fixings and Thistle Bonding 60 plaster. Arguably our biggest contribution, however, is the time and encouragement given by David Kehoe, who judges the Plastering and Drywall Systems category.

Supporting the next generation at SkillBuild

Speaking about the day, David told us: “SkillBuild is important as it gives the industry an opportunity to showcase its brightest talents. It’s an opportunity for colleges to show off the good work they’re doing to help the construction industry produce the skilled tradespeople of the future. We have had some really strong performances today and the level of work has been high.”

SkillBuild tests competitors not only on their technical abilities but also on their time management, character and commitment. For those in the plastering and drywall system competition, this meant completing projects designed by industry experts. Colin McGaughey, Lead Judge at the CITB set the drywall system challenge.

Supporting the next generation at SkillBuild Colin McGaughey

Colin commented: “I designed this part of the contest to challenge all aspects of what the competitors are learning in college on a day-to-day basis. The event proves to the wider construction industry that apprentices around the country have real talent and deserve a chance to break through.”

We also caught up with some of the competitors, including 24-year old plastering student, Jarred Cottle. He commented: “My tutor introduced me to SkillBuild and as I progressed through my course, I wanted the opportunity to see how I compared against others in the region. I think events like SkillBuild are good for the industry because they give young people a chance to prove they can perform under pressure.”

Supporting the next generation at SkillBuild

Another competitor was Carla Dibb, who was involved in the Drywall Systems competition. Carla is working hard to break into the plastering and drywall industry and sees SkillBuild as a crucial step in that process. Her presence at the event highlights a growing number of women who are looking to make their mark in the plastering and drylining industry. She commented: “SkillBuild looks really good on your CV and will help you stand out. I would say to any woman considering a career in plastering to go for it, it’s brilliant and I’m really happy it’s what I decided to pursue.”

Everyone who took part in the event can be proud of their contribution and at the end of the day it was very difficult to decide on the winners. After much deliberation Ryan Lill of Leeds College of Building was victorious in the plastering competition, with Jake Emery, also of Leeds College of Building, being crowned the winner of the Drywall System category. They will now go on to compete at the national SkillShow event in Birmingham, against the other regional qualifier winners. The winners of that event will move on to a European stage, known as EuroSkills, with their eye on the ultimate prize – the chance to compete on the world stage at WorldSkills.

Speaking about his victory, Ryan Lill told us: “Today has been fantastic. There was a lot of people watching us work, so we all had to perform under pressure. Before becoming a fully-fledged plasterer my brother also took part in SkillBuild, so it’s now something of a family tradition. I’d recommend the event to others as it has helped me to become more confident and independent plasterer.”

Find out how the next generation of tradespeople got on at the UK’s biggest and longest running construction skills competition, SkillBuild.

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