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Leeds College of Building gears up as Yorkshire host for SkillBuild regional heats

Student Aaron Brady tiling in the 2021 SkillBuild national competition final.

Leeds College of Building is set to be the only Yorkshire host for the 2022 SkillBuild Regional Qualifying Heats on 9 June. 

SkillBuild is the largest and longest running multi-trade skills competition in the UK for construction trainees and apprentices. Delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), SkillBuild forms part of WorldSkills UK and is often dubbed the ‘skills Olympics’ for some of the most in-demand construction trades.

The competition will showcase some of the region’s most talented learners and apprentices. The event kicked off in April with 16 regional heats now happening at various colleges across the UK until the end of June.

Leeds College of Building will welcome 83 competitors (including students from the College) for the regional heats of Bricklaying, Carpentry, Joinery, Painting & Decorating, Plastering, Plastering & Drywall systems, Wall & Floor Tiling, and Roof Slating & Tiling. 

The College last hosted a Regional Qualifier in 2019 when it was the Roof Slating & Tiling competition venue. This is the first time the College has acted as the host for the whole of the Yorkshire region. 

Top scoring competitors will move onto the second stage in the competition, qualifying for the 2022 SkillBuild UK National Competition Final being held at six venues, including Edinburgh College, from Monday 14 November. Due to restrictions around Covid-19 last year, qualifying rounds were held remotely at competitors’ colleges.

The competition takes place at a time when there is a skills shortage and demand for more workers in the construction industry is high. CITB’s recent Rethinking Recruitment report highlights the need to attract more individuals into construction, and encompassing a variety of trades, SkillBuild presents a fantastic opportunity to alter perceptions and promote the diverse range of roles available.

WorldSkills UK Deputy CEO Ben Blackledge said: 

“Taking part in a WorldSkills UK competition can be a life-changing experience, and I would like to wish all the construction competitors the very best of luck in their heats. 

“WorldSkills UK’s competition-based development programmes offer students and apprentices the chance to pit their skills against the best of the best in the UK and potentially on the international stage at Lyon in the 2024 WorldSkills global competition.”

Jackie Ducker, CITB Executive Director – Customer & Product, said: 

“The Regional Qualifiers are a very exciting time for those working behind the scenes at CITB. They provide a platform for the best of the best in construction technical education, which is an extremely beneficial experience, helping these young people to grow both personally and professionally. 

“We feel it’s hugely important that we nurture the talent coming through the heats to ensure that regardless of their placing, they come away feeling confident and inspired to continue a career in construction.”Mark Sims, Leeds College of Building Lecturer and Competition Coordinator, said:

We are delighted to host the SkillBuild Yorkshire heats and see some of our own students representing the College at a regional level. It’s a real testament to the work that they have been doing, and we foresee a bright future ahead for them. The College has a great track record in the competition, and we hope 2022 will be no exception. It’s fantastic to see the competition opening up again, and we look forward to welcoming competitors from across the region to our campus.”

Leeds College of Building was established in 1960 and is the only specialist general further education construction college in the UK. The College teaches around 5,500 students and is currently recruiting to a comprehensive range of courses related to construction and the built environment commencing in September 2022. In total, the College trains nearly 2,800 Apprentices across all areas of the College’s provision. 

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