On 23 March 2018, eleven apprentices from South Eastern Regional College (SERC) joined over 60 local construction apprentices as they competed against each other in the annual Skillbuild NI National Finals which was held in North West Regional College, Greystone Campus, Limavady.

Skillbuild NI is organised by CITB NI and supported by the Department for the Economy and helps to assist with maintaining and raising the status and standards of professional and technical education and training.

The competition is held annually each spring with many winners progressing further to represent Northern Ireland in the Skills Show UK and potentially at WorldSkills and is also supported by local construction employers who sponsor each trade category

The Skillbuild NI competition is designed to test skills, technique and ability within tight timeframes to win coveted titles in 10 different trades ranging from brickwork to wall and floor tiling.

When the results were announced Newtownards local Andrew Tucker who is employed by Elite Electrical, was celebrating after achieving a Bronze medal in the electrical installation competition. While Lisburn lad Matthew Patterson, employed by The Ballykelly Group, was awarded a silver medal in the joinery competition.

Maurice Johnston, Chairman CITB NI said:Skills competitions are a very positive news story for Northern Ireland. They are a great way to showcase our vocational skills and demonstrate to employers and future investors the high standard of training provision which exists in our colleges and training organisations.

"CITB NI is proud to have been involved in construction skills competitions for over 40 years and we have a record of success at skills competitions not only on a local level but also on a regional, national and world level. The Skillbuild NI competition allows our young apprentices to demonstrate that they have the high level of skills which our economy needs to stay competitive and gives all the competitors a chance to showcase their skills.

"Congratulations to everyone who has taken part and those who have excelled in their trade. Skillbuild NI couldn’t happen without the support of the local sponsors and the training network and we extend our thanks to all who have helped the apprentices to be able to compete at this competition. Our young people are more ambitious now than ever and we hope that Skillbuild NI National Finals will be part of their journey and future careers within the construction industry.”

SERC Head of School Construction and Engineering John Nixon, said thatSkill build provides a unique stage for trainees to showcase their skills and expertise and motivates them to reach the highest standards in trade careers. It was a very successful competition. I was impressed with the high standard of workmanship displayed and this was commented on by the various judges.”

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