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Gower College Swansea hosts SkillBuild regional heat

Gower College Swansea hosts SkillBuild regional heat

The largest and longest-running construction skills competition in the UK returns, as Gower College Swansea prepare to host 80-100 students for the SkillBuild 2023 South Wales regional heat.

SkillBuild is delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and showcases some of the brightest talent, as highly skilled learners and apprentices go head-to-head to be crowned winner of their chosen trade. Competitors will be tested on their technical abilities, time management, problem solving and skills working under pressure. However, the prestigious competition comes with many benefits, being proven to improve technical and employability skills, as well as advancing career options.

There are 15 regional qualifiers taking place across the UK from 27 April through to the end of June. Following the regional qualifiers, the top eight scoring competitors from each trade category will be invited to take part in the UK national final. For the first time, this year’s national final will take place at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on 21, 22 & 23 November 2023. The arena has previously played host to the National Badminton Championships, darts tournaments and various music concerts.

CITB’s recent Construction Skills Network (CSN) report states that almost 225,000 extra workers will be required to meet UK construction demand by 2027. It also highlights that construction is expected to remain a sector where there is demand for workers, despite the current economic uncertainty. Covering 10 different trades, SkillBuild is a fantastic opportunity to alter perceptions and promote the diverse range of roles available.

Sammy Young, a SkillBuild 2022 finalist from Wales, said:

“Winning silver for Wales at the national finals last year [2021] enabled me to secure a job in a joinery workshop, taking on commissions for bespoke and heritage projects. I decided to enter again this year to test myself, and I also enjoy the training sessions to hone specific skills. The advice I would give to anyone considering coming back into education or changing their career, is go for it! I now have the focus, discipline, and concentration I didn’t have when I was younger. It’s glorious and I never want to stop learning.”

Tim Balcon, CITB Chief Executive, said:

“I always look forward to the SkillBuild regional heats, as it’s the first glimpse we get into the fantastic variety of young talent coming through to industry. SkillBuild is a wonderful initiative which aims to attract a diverse range of recruits, and with the current skills gap, it places even greater importance on the competition and its ability to promote construction careers to a wider audience.

“SkillBuild not only helps young people to grow personally, increasing their confidence and social skills, but it’s also proven to assist them professionally by developing their technical and employability skills. While a challenging experience, if you’re serious about a career in construction, SkillBuild is an excellent opportunity. I wish all competitors the very best of luck for the heats this year!”

Hannah Pearce, Learning Area Manager for the Built Environment at Gower College Swansea, said:

“It is a great honour to be hosting the South Wales regional final of the SkillBuild competition at our Jubilee Court Campus. We look forward to welcoming competitors in bricklaying, furniture and cabinet making, carpentry, joinery, painting and decorating, plastering, plastering and drywall systems, stonemasonry and wall and floor tiling.

“It will be an exciting day for participants and visitors alike; numerous contractors will be joining us and we will be offering taster activities using VR equipment provided by QWIC!

“By participating in these competitions, students have the opportunity to enhance their skills in their chosen trade, improve their time management and complex drawing-reading abilities, network with industry professionals, and build their confidence

“I would like to wish all participants the best of luck, and look forward to welcoming you to Gower College Swansea.”

CITB would like to thank all the fantastic sponsors of this year’s SkillBuild, which include Albion Stone, BAL, Band of Builders, British Gypsum, Institute of Carpenters, Crown Paints, Forterra, The Keystone Group, Nicholls & Clarke, NFRC, Schluter, SPAX, Stabila, Stone Federation, TARMAC, The Tile Association, The Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers and Weber.

To find out more about SkillBuild and the regional qualifiers, visit Go Construct. To find out more about Gower College Swansea’s Plumbing and Construction courses, visit Gower College Swansea’s website.

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