The best local construction apprentices from across Northern Ireland tested their skills in 11 different construction trades at Skillbuild NI 2015, held at Belfast Metropolitan College’s Castlereagh campus on 29th and 30th April.
Skillbuild NI, run and governed by CITB NI, is held annually each spring with the top local construction apprentices competing to win coveted titles in skills areas ranging from brickwork to wall and floor tiling. The winners may then go on to represent Northern Ireland in the Skills Show UK and potentially at WorldSkills.
South West College (SWC) scooped 12 medals across 8 competitive disciplines and secured gold in carpentry, electrical installation, joinery and painting and decorating. Local apprentice, Kyle Weir from South West College was also awarded the title of ‘Young Apprentice of the Year.’
Commending the competitors on their hard work and dedication shown in their area of expertise, Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry said:
“Skills are widely accepted as a key driver in how Northern Ireland can achieve our economic goals and developing the skills and talents of our young people is central to enabling local businesses to develop and grow, to improve our collective prosperity and meet the present and future needs of our economy.
“This competition is an excellent opportunity for our young people in the construction sector to showcase and celebrate their high level of skills and talent, as well as reflecting the high standards of training in our further education colleges and training organisations. Skills competitions are an essential part of the pursuit of excellence in our training systems and working practices.
“The last few years have been an exciting and successful time for skills competitions in Northern Ireland. There has been a year on year increase in the number and range of skills competitions taking place and competitors taking part and I hope this trend continues. Northern Ireland has a proud record of success in skills competitions at regional, national and world level. I am confident once again Northern Ireland will have an excellent representation on Team UK competing at WorldSkills 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in August.”
Skillbuild NI not only encourages trainees to improve their own skills, but provides an example of the high quality work being produced in training organisations and colleges across NI. The Skillbuild test pieces are designed to challenge the ability of apprentices, testing skills within tight timeframes and the competitors are being continuously assessed throughout the two day competition.
The competition is supported by the Department for Employment and Learning, Construction Employers Federation, Haldane Fisher, City and Guilds, Colleges NI and the Health and Safety Executive, along with local construction employers who sponsor each competition category.
Maurice Johnston, Chairman CITB NI, said:
“Skillbuild NI is the premier skills competition for construction and we recognize the accomplishments of all the competitors taking part in the 2015 finals. This competition provides the perfect platform to demonstrate the enormous talent we have in the construction industry in Northern Ireland, helping to showcase the professionalism of our brightest recruits and industry as a whole.
“Skillbuild NI couldn’t happen without the support of the local sponsors and we thank the local employers for investing in the future of the construction industry. The Skillbuild NI national competition is a superb event which enables participants to benchmark themselves against their fellow competitors in NI. The apprentices competing have been preparing hard for this event and credit must be given both to them and the trainers involved.”
Speaking about the continued success of South West College (SWC) in the Skillbuild competition arena, Maria Hackett, Head of Training Department at SWC said:
“I am truly delighted and would like to congratulate all the trainees on their magnificent achievements. The students worked extremely hard to achieve this success. I would also like to acknowledge the commitment of their lecturers who supported the students in their preparation for the competition finals.”