Apprentices outshine competition at construction contest

Six apprentices and trainees from Themis at Burnley College celebrated success in the regional heats of a prestigious national competition.

Apprentices and trainees from a wide range of construction disciplines took part in skills challenges at the North West regional heat of SkillBuild and Skill M&E – the UK’s largest multi-trade competition.

Advanced level trainee, Sarah Houghton was the overall winner of the painting and decorating new entrant competition whilst Toby Sholto, who recently won the Construction Development Alliance award for young professional, was the winner of the senior cabinet making challenge for the second year running.

Themis’ success continued with painting and decorating apprentice Rachel Prescott coming second in her discipline, trainee Andrew Jackson taking second place within plastering new entrant and third placed finishes for bricklaying apprentice Kyle Snaithe and carpentry apprentice, Jack Hook.

Sarah, who is a full time trainee and Toby, who works for Drew Forsyth Ltd, will now have a chance to compete at the SkillBuild UK final and if successful, could be selected to represent the UK at the next WorldSkills competition, taking place in Brazil in 2015.

Sarah, from Burnley, said: “I’m really proud to have won today at SkillBuild as it shows that I am one of the best trainee tradespeople in the North West, which is a huge achievement.

“The competition was challenging but it was a great chance for me to show some of the skills that I have learnt at Burnley College and use every day and to have these recognised as the best in such a prestigious competition.”

The competition concluded with an awards ceremony, with prizes presented by the newly appointed apprenticeship ambassador to business, Gordon Birtwistle MP.

The competition was supported by a host of local employers including Bernard Clancy Builders, ACT Construction, DS Taylor, Hyndburn Homes, Calico Housing, Speakman Contractors and Austin Grady. Hugh Bramwell, chief executive, Themis, said: “It was fantastic to see so many enthusiastic apprentices and trainees taking part in this competition so enthusiastically. The level of talent on show was encouraging and we would like to congratulate all of the winners and competitors."