Construction students from across the North East travelled to Sunderland College for a prestigious skills competition to find the region’s best apprentice bricklayers.
City Campus, home to the college’s specialist technical courses and facilities, recently hosted the Guild of Bricklayers Northern Heats where apprentices from 20 colleges went head-to-head for the chance to advance to the national finals.
Throughout the day the campus’ workshops were a hive of activity as competitors were tasked with reproducing live brickwork models in five and six hours.
Sunderland College was represented by Liam Mallan who finished runner-up in the junior competition, with Jamie-Lee Keighley and Northumberland College’s Joe Beattie taking silver and bronze in the senior category respectively.
As well as giving students the opportunity to demonstrate their skills against some of the North East’s most talented bricklayers, the event has also helped prepare the trio for the upcoming WorldSkills UK Regional Heats in June.
Jamie-Lee, who turned his life around after joining the college, said: “I really enjoyed the experience of competing at such a prestigious competition.
“Finishing runner-up is a great achievement for me and was great preparation for the upcoming WorldSkills UK Qualifiers.”
Several days later, Jamie-Lee took part in an inter-college bricklaying competition at East Durham College in which he won.
Ian King, Managing Director at King Brothers Bricklaying Contractors Ltd, where Jamie-Lee and Liam are completing their apprenticeships, added: “Competitions such as the Guild of Bricklayers are an excellent way of showcasing the skills of our apprentice bricklayers.
“Congratulations to Jimmy Stobbart at Sunderland College on organising such a successful event. Jimmy taught my son when he was an apprentice so I have first-hand knowledge of how he pushes everyone of his students to be the best they can be.”
Sunderland College recently celebrated a successful second year of being part of the WorldSkills UK Centre of Excellence pilot.
The College became just one of 20 chosen to undertake the first of its kind project, with the aim to mainstream excellence in technical education. It is delivered in partnership with leading education services provider NCFE and aims to develop world-class educators who will in turn inspire young people from all backgrounds to take up apprenticeships and technical vocational education.
Staff from key curriculum areas including Construction, Digital, Engineering, Hair and Barbering, and Catering and Hospitality were coached and mentored by Jenna Wrathall Bailey MBE though a continuous professional development programme.
Students across the focus curriculum areas have excelled in their studies, raising their levels of achievement with several participating and winning prestigious regional, national skills competitions organised by WorldSkills UK and other leading organisations.
Simon Muschamp, Director for Construction Industries, said: “This was a fantastic event supported well by all of the colleges. Everyone did a brilliant job and represented themselves, their colleges and employers in an exemplary way.
“The standard of work produced at both levels was of a really high standard and all of the competitors should be really proud of what they achieved on the day.
“We were proud to host the competition and welcome everyone to our campus and facilities. I would like to offer a thank you to Marshalltown Tools and Footprint Tools for providing some amazing prizes as well as Wienerberger UK and Marshalls for donating 6,000 bricks and mortar.”
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