Carpentry student celebrates success at construction competition

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Christopher Horsburgh, a carpentry student at East Berkshire College, is celebrating after triumphing in the regional heat of SkillBuild – the UK’s largest multi-trade competition.


Christopher (17, from Windsor) beat candidates from colleges across the region to take third place in the junior carpentry category at the regional heat of the competition, which took place at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College on 23rd May. The highest scoring competitors from the heats will be given the opportunity to compete at the three day SkillBuild UK final, which will take place later this year.

Christopher, who is studying a carpentry level one course at Langley College, was overwhelmed to achieve third place in his very first competition.

“It is an honour just to be nominated to compete at SkillBuild, so to have achieved third place is fantastic – especially against such tough competition. The biggest challenge was to maintain the high standards required in the tight timescale, but it has been great experience. I’d like the chance to go back and do even better next time.”

In the regional heat, students had to build a complex structure from test plans in five hours. The test pieces were designed to challenge the ability of entrants to follow detailed instructions, produce accurate and neat work outputs, to be economical with materials while working to strict timescales.

Other candidates from the College also competed in the regional heats. Tyrone Dunne (24, from Langley) showcased his exceptional trowel skills in the senior bricklaying category, while Caleb Beldom (16, from Datchet) narrowly missed out on one of the top spots in the junior bricklaying competition. Meanwhile, Billy Long also competed in the senior carpentry section.

Bricklaying student Tyrone Dunne, who had to produce a complicated piece of brickwork using a variety of different decorative techniques as part of the competition, said: “Taking part in SkillBuild has been a really good experience. It has given me a lot more confidence in my skills and a better understanding of the industry. I really enjoy the complicated decorative side of brickwork and would like to work as an improver on site after I finish college. Eventually, I hope to start my own business.”

The SkillBuild event is the largest multi-trade competition in the country for construction trainees and apprentices. It recognises the skills of young tradesmen and women in various crafts including carpentry, bricklaying, plastering, painting and decorating, and cabinet making.

SkillBuild is an annual event which is managed by CITB, the Sector Skills Council and Industry Training Board for the construction industry, and supported by local employers as well as national sponsors.

For further information on East Berkshire College and its construction courses, including brickwork, click here or call 0845 373 2500.

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