Apprentices Reach WorldSkills UK Finals

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Four City College Plymouth apprentices have been selected for the national WorldSkills UK LIVE 2019 finals and are set to compete this November at the NEC in Birmingham.

In the painting and decorating category, Rebekah Holden, who is doing an Apprenticeship with Eliza Tay’s all-female decorating team, will be representing the College and her employer in the final.

Three Babcock apprentices, Rhys Jones, Connor Kent and Jake Plumley, will also be competing in the final – in the sheet metal work technology category.

Rebekah Holden (pictured) said: “It feels amazing to be selected for the UK WorldSkills painting and decorating final! I was shocked when I found out as I really didn’t think I’d get this far in the competition.

“I’m currently in the final, third year of my Apprenticeship and I’m really enjoying the experience of gaining professional work experience alongside studying at the College. I decided to go into painting and decorating because I’m quite a creative and artistic person and I enjoy doing hands-on, practical work.”

Rebekah’s lecturer at the College, Syd Dart, said: “She is very talented and has a lot of natural ability so we didn’t hesitate to enter her into the regional SkilBuild competition earlier this year, where she scored one of the highest merits in the country, with an impressive score of 79.5%.

“Rebekah is very composed, doesn’t let anything faze her and we’re really proud of what she’s achieved. The work she produces is amazing – I believe she’s got a good chance of doing really well in the national final and may even be selected to compete in the next international WorldSkills Olympics.”

Jake Plumley (pictured), who has just started the second year of a three-year Fabricator Apprenticeship with Babcock, said: “I competed in the regional contest and the score I achieved means I’m one of the lucky 12 from across the UK going through to the national sheet metal work technology final.

“There are also two other City College and Babcock finalists competing in this category – Rhys and Connor; so we’re in a strong position, and very proud to represent our employer and the College in the final!

“These competitions assess your individual capabilities and it’s a great opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills you gain at college and in the workplace in a competitive setting.

“Getting through to the final really puts into perspective how much you do learn through an Apprenticeship. I started my training not really knowing much about fabrication and now I’m learning so much, whether it is welding techniques, forming, pattern development or problem-solving.

“Babcock and the College have supported me all the way through the competition process – they’ve given me lots of different opportunities to practice and develop the skills that I need.

“I went into the regional competition thinking ‘let’s see what happens’, and now I’m going up to Birmingham NEC in November to compete at a national level!”

Would you like to enter competitions like these City College apprentices? Are you thinking about a career in the construction trades or engineering? Explore the training options available at City College Plymouth at, call 01752 305300 or visit one of their events: the College is holding an Open Day on 2 November, 10.00am to 1.00pm.