Over 70 local construction apprentices gathered their tools to compete against each other in the annual Skillbuild NI National Finals in North West Regional College, Greystone Campus, Limavady in March, with Samuel Gilmore being named as the Overall Young Apprentice of the Year.
The Northern Regional College, Coleraine, student is employed by Mark Pollock and won gold in the Carpentry category before winning the Overall title. Skillbuild NI is organised by CITB NI and supported by the Department for the Economy and helps to assist with maintaining and raising the status and standards of professional and technical education and training.
The competition is held annually each spring with many winners progressing further to represent Northern Ireland in the Skills Show UK and potentially at WorldSkills and is also supported by local construction employers who sponsor each trade category. The Skillbuild NI competition is designed to test skills, technique and ability within tight timeframes in order to win coveted titles in 10 different trades ranging from brickwork to wall and floor tiling.
Maurice Johnston, Chairman CITB NI, said, “Skills competitions are a very positive news story for Northern Ireland. They are a great way to showcase our vocational skills and demonstrate to employers and future investors the high standard of training provision which exists in our colleges and training organisations.
“CITB NI is proud to have been involved in construction skills competitions for over 40 years, and we have a record of success at skills competitions not only on a local level but also on a regional, national and world level. The Skillbuild NI competition allows our young apprentices to demonstrate that they have the high level of skills which our economy needs to stay competitive and gives all the competitors a chance to showcase their skills.
“Congratulations to everyone who has taken part and those who have excelled in their trade. Skillbuild NI couldn’t happen without the support of the local sponsors and the training network. We extend our thanks to all who have helped the apprentices to be able to compete at this competition. Our young people are more ambitious now than ever, and we hope that Skillbuild NI National Finals will be part of their journey and future careers within the construction industry.”
Leo Murphy, Principal and Chief Executive, North West Regional College, added, “We are delighted to have hosted the Skillbuild NI National Finals for the third time at our Greystone Campus in Limavady. I’d like to congratulate all of the competitors and their trainers who have put a huge amount of time into preparing for the event which brings together our most talented young people from across Northern Ireland.
“The Skillbuild NI National Finals provide the perfect platform to showcase the depth of talent we have in the industry, and the high level of skills coming through the next generation which our economy needs to stay competitive. Our best wishes go to the many participants who will now go on to compete in the UK and Worldskills competitions.”