staff holding awards

Students build their way to national success

30 July 2018

Two Coleg Gwent students have reached the National SkillBuild finals, beating a hundred of the best plastering apprentices in the process.
Apprentices Keiron Edwards, 21 and David Kerr, 31 recently competed in the six hour Welsh SkillBuild final held at Coleg Sir Gar, where students were judged on the finish of their plaster work and the accuracy of their mitres and fibrous project.

SkillBuild is the largest multi-trade competition in the UK for construction trainees and apprentices which is delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). Competitors are tested in regional heats through to country-wide competitions before the successful apprentices compete against others in the National November final.

“When we first decided to compete in the regional heats in Merthyr College back in March, we asked for willing volunteers. The apprentices took part in a series of practical sessions and both David and Keiron were the best candidates to represent the college“, said Mark Stephen, Senior Plastering Lecturer.

After scoring enough points to reach the Welsh final, both men had to demonstrate initial preparation and beading, completing two types of solid plastering. They were then asked to run a fibrous circle and straight lengths of plaster work, constructing a triangle to the given dimensions and then intersect this with a circle as part of the competition.

Level 3 apprentice Keiron, from Tedegar, said, “The most challenging part of the competition was intersecting the circle as the straight length can only be cut free hand. We also didn’t receive any details of the competition beforehand so our skills were definitely tested on the day!”

Level 2 apprentice David initially completed the evening plastering course at the Pontypool campus but was so impressed with the trade he changed his job, took a pay cut and gained an apprenticeship.

“Both Keiron and I were shocked but pleased with the result. We’re looking forward, although a little nervous, to perform in front of thousands of visitors at the final,” added David.

The National final will be held in Birmingham this November over three days.