WEC adds to WorldSkills gold medal haul

By Lancashire Business View

21 Nov 2017

A pair of WEC Group training academy apprentices have won medals at the WorldSkills UK competition in Construction Metalwork.

With a gold and a silver, it marks the third year in a row that an apprentice from the Darwen firm has earned the highest award at the competition.

This year's winners were Michael Grimshaw, a 25-year-old second year welding and fabrication apprentice who won gold, and Tyler Atkinson, last year's WEC Group Apprentice of the Year, who brought home silver.

Reece Embley, the third WEC apprentice who made it through to the final ten also received Highly Commended.

The standards of the competition were extremely high again this year, although the competition was more challenging than in previous years. Apprentices had to make both sections of a metal crane in the same time scale as previous competitors had to make one section.

Michael Grimshaw, gold medallist, started his welding and fabrication apprenticeship only 12 months ago, at an older age than most, after beginning a career as a steeple jack.

As the job was seasonal and he wanted a career with more stability, he secured an apprenticeship with WEC Group where he will be guaranteed a job upon completion. Despite having the least experience out of the final 10 competitors, he still managed to win gold and now has a bright future ahead of him after starting his apprenticeship at WEC.

He said: “It has been a fantastic experience and I am honoured to win a gold medal, it is a shame due to my age that I can’t be part of Squad UK, but I wish Tyler the best of luck!”

He joins WEC Group's wall of fame alongside the other five apprentices who have won gold, bronze and silver over the past three years.

Steve Hartley, managing director, said: "For a local family owned business to produce national gold medal winners three years running is a major and fantastic result.

“It is a testament to the high level of training our apprentices receive, being recognised as some of the best and most skilled apprentices across the whole of the country.”

The three WEC Group Training Academy apprentices competed against more than 100 entrants from across the UK in order to secure their places in the final ten.

They were tutored by Kris Mercer, WEC Group training and development manager who held weekly welding/fabrication masterclasses with the finalists in the run up to the competition. WEC Group also has a training package in partnership with Themis at Burnley College. Director of Themis, Simon Jordan, added: “Their success in this renowned international contest is testament to their skills, commitment and determination to be the very best they can."

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