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Stonemasonry apprentice at Bath College chosen to represent Britain at EuroSkills competition

Talented stonemason Toby Brook will represent his country at Europe’s largest skills competition as part of the WorldSkills UK squad.

The former Bath College apprentice earned his place on the squad after winning highly commended in the 2015 WorldSkills UK competition.

He is just one of 19 apprentices chosen to enter EuroSkills Gothenburg 2016 and will be the only British stonemason competing.

Toby, 19, completed his apprenticeship at Bath College last summer and is continuing to develop his craft working at Wells Cathedral Stonemasons.

He said: “I had two days training at Bath College and after that, Kevin Calpin, WorldSkills trainer for stonemasonry, decided who to take to Europe.

“I was surprised when I got through, because I imagine it was close. I shouted it out when I got the e-mail and everyone patted me on the back.

“It’s a big achievement. I’m going to aim for my highest goal to get a medal, but I’m also looking forward to the chance to represent the UK.”

Taking place in December, EuroSkills will see young people from over 30 European countries come together to compete in over 35 different skills areas.

The competitors taking part in EuroSkills will also go on to compete for a place in the team representing the UK at the next WorldSkills competition in 2017.

Toby, who has already been hard at work practicing, will now complete an intensive training programme before the EuroSkills competition.

He said: “It’s going to be a lot of hard work. With every competition I’ve done so far, you don’t know what you’re doing until you get there.

“The higher you go the harder it gets. It’s a bit overwhelming to see where I was in my first year of college and to see where I am now.

“I never thought I would get this far. It does boost your confidence. When you’re in a workshop you don’t really know your skill.

“You don’t know how good you are until you’re competing against others.”

Stonemasonry lecturer Ray Sumner, who taught Toby at Bath College, is proud to see him secure his place to compete in Europe.

He said: “Toby’s dedication to training and the stonemasonry industry has led to him being recognised as one of the best stonemasons in the country.

“He is a testament to the teaching and learning at Bath College and he joins a long list of accomplished stonemasons who have trained at the college.”

Bath College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “We are so proud of what Toby has already achieved and are delighted that his ambition to excel in his chosen career continues to develop.

“Toby is a fantastic example to each and every apprentice stonemason in the country and everyone at Bath College is behind him 100 per cent.”

Government Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “The young people who have earned a place on Team UK are worthy ambassadors and show the great things you can achieve with high quality apprenticeships and technical training.

“I congratulate each and every member of Team UK and look forward to hearing about their performance.”

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