Newport trainees win through to all-Wales Construction finals

Four construction trainees from Newport have won through to the final of a competition to find Wales’ best young skilled workers in the industry.

18-year-old Denis Waters, a Level 1 Brickwork student at Coleg Gwent’s City of Newport Campus, came out top in the south Wales heat of the Skills Competition Wales Brickwork event held at Pembrokeshire College.

Denis, from Magor, was over the moon to be ranked among the top trainee bricklayers in south Wales:  He said: “I was really surprised when I won as the competition was very strong.  It’s a great feeling to have your work recognised at this level, and the contest was a good opportunity to benchmark my skills against others in the trade.”

Denis will now go forward to the all-Wales final at Coleg Sir Gar in Carmarthen on 27 March. He will be joined by 16-year-old Joseph Godsall from Newport who came third in the regional heats of the Multiskills competition.

Meanwhile, trainee plumbers and electricians from Colleges and training providers across south Wales flocked to Coleg Gwent’s City of Newport Campus, where Coleg Gwent students Joseph Harris and Aarron Oliver were victorious in the regional heats of their competitions.

Both will compete in the all-Wales final at Gower College Swansea on 27 March; 18-year-old Aaron,from Risca, in the Plumbing competition and 17-year-old Joseph,from Malpas, in the Electrical Installation competition.

Aarron is hoping to take the national Welsh title. He said: “I was really pleased to get a place in the final and I’m aiming high,” says Aarron who is currently on a full-time course.  “I’m very competitive and I’m hoping to find an employer to take me on as an Apprentice so the accolade of being the best at what I do could help me get that job. Having to work under pressure to a tight brief is very much like the situations you face in the workplace so it’s great practice and good preparation for the future.”

To gain their place in the finals, all four had to demonstrate specialist skills in their respective trades, as outlined in a detailed brief similar to those they would receive from a client.  In a race against the clock, the students were judged on skills like measuring and creating angles, as well as the aesthetics of the finished project.

Backed by the Welsh Government through the European Social Fund, Skills Competition Wales promotes the importance of developing a highly skilled workforce.

Skills Competition Wales aims to find Wales’ most talented trainees across a wide range of skills, including fields such as painting and decorating, automotive engineering, aerospace, construction skills, catering, accountancy, media, and information technology.

It involves colleges, Sector Skills Councils and training providers running competitions across Wales.

Photograph: Denis Waters