Cornwall College students have been showing off their trade skills by coming away with medals at various competitions in the region and will now go on to compete at national finals later this year.
The first success came at the South of England final of the SkillELECTRIC competition where Matthew Fletcher, who studies Electrical Installations at the St Austell campus and is employed as an apprentice by Penryn-based Addinalls Ltd, came away as the overall winner.
Matthew, 31 from Penryn, battled it out with other finalists from colleges across the south of the country at Bridgwater College on 16 May to be named the region's best apprentice electrician.
Contestants had six hours to install a PVC conduit and trunking installation with three circuits feeding light points and power sockets. Their work had to be completed within the time limit, safely and to recognised industry standards, with a very small tolerance for any errors.
Matthew said: "All of the competitors worked really hard and I was surprised when they announced I'd won. It was a difficult task but to know that the judges felt I did a good job makes me really proud. I couldn't have done it without the support of my employer Addinalls Ltd and my trainers at Cornwall College, so I need to thank them for this too."
On the same day Camborne campus plumbing and heating apprentice Jamie Roach took third place in the SkillPLUMB regional final. Jamie, 21 from St Austell, works for Coverplan Heating and Plumbing in St Austell.
Competitors had to install a section of a typical two-pipe central heating system, including a double panel convector radiator, a circulating pump, a towel rail and associated copper pipework.
Both events are part of the nationwide SkillM&E competitions organised by SummitSkills, the sector skills council for building services engineering.
The highest-scoring competitors from across all the UK heats go on to compete in the UK-wide finals which will take place at The Skills Show in November at the NEC, Birmingham.
The Skills Show is the feeder route for competitors to potentially go forward and represent their country at the biennial WorldSkills competition - the world's largest skills competition. The next WorldSkills event takes place at Leipzig in German in July 2013.
On 17 May ten students from Cornwall College campuses in Camborne, Saltash and St Austell made their way to Somerset College with their tutors to compete in the SkillBuild south west regional final in carpentry, joinery, cabinet making and brickwork.
SkillBuild is the largest multi-trade competition in the country for construction trainees and apprentices run by CITB-ConstructionSkills, the national training body for construction.
St Austell carpentry apprentice Gareth Parks, 25 from Bude, took first place in the carpentry competition.
Competitors had to design and build a roof with an extension within a time limit of six hours.
Gareth, who works for Exeter-based Dixon Property, said: "It was great to win, I've never really won anything before. This is the first time I've entered something like this. Everything went to plan, I do this type of thing at work all the time. My tutor at Cornwall College Mark Hayes has helped a lot, I've got lots of little tips off him along the way."
Jason Rule, 17 from Illogan, claimed third place in the carpentry section. Jason, who studies at the Camborne campus and is an apprentice with Arvor Construction in Redruth, commented: "I'm over the moon at coming third. I found it quite tough as I'd only done the task at college once before but I managed to pull it out the bag."
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