From education to employment


Four apprentices from Leeds College of Building have been awarded medals at WorldSkills UK, where the best in their trades from across the country competed over a three-day period at the NEC in Birmingham, in front of almost 74,000 spectators.

19 year old Harry Pennock, who is from Leeds, won the gold medal in the roofing category and 25 year old Ben Pick, from Wakefield, won gold in the joinery category.

21 year old Jordan Kitching, who is from Bradford and works for Incommunities, won silver in the dry lining category and 21 year old James Tidswell, who is from Lothersdale and works for Tidswell Roofing, won bronze in the roofing category.

Apprentice Callum Pearson also took part in the wall & floor tiling category and apprentice Jacob Wall took part in the Plumbing competition, both narrowly missed out on medals.

To reach the national finals, all six apprentices had previously seen off competition from hundreds of other construction students from rival colleges in Yorkshire & Humberside earlier this year when Leeds College of Building hosted the regional competitions. Their marks were then compared to other regional finalists across the country, with only the highest scoring competitors making it through to the national finals. 

Ian Billyard, Principal at Leeds College of Building, says: “For six of our apprentices to make it through to WorldSkills UK is a great honour. Only the very best from each regional competition made it to Birmingham, and to come away with four medals is testament to each individual’s standard of workmanship and attention to detail. The three-day competition is very intensive, it requires patience, dedication and skill – something all of these apprentices have plenty of.”

Harry, who works for J Chillingsworth, said: “It was nerve wracking completing the challenges in front of so many spectators and against the other talented competitors. There were 82 of us in total battling it out for the gold medals in ten different construction disciplines, and it was great to see James, who I am on the same course with, also get a medal for roofing.”

Ben, who works for Broadley Group, said: “It was such a great experience to compete on a national stage like WorldSkills UK, and coming first is something I am very proud of.”

Harry may now get the opportunity to represent the UK in the international skills competition – EuroSkills – which is taking place in Budapest next September, with competitors selected from those top placed national winners.

Ian adds: “This year Leeds College of Building achieved an overall placing of 4th out of 126 organisations in the medals table, thanks to the outstanding performances of our talented apprentices. They are a credit to their trade, the college and their employers, and have proven themselves to be amongst the very best roofers, joiners, plasterers, tilers and plumbers in the country.”

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