Two Newcastle College apprentices will be heading to Birmingham this week, after reaching the UK final of a prestigious skills competition.
Automotive apprentice Andrew Drape and David Crank, a roofing, slating and tiling apprentice, will be representing the College at the final round of WorldSkills UK Live (formerly the Skills Show).
The competition is the country's largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event, bringing together apprentices from across the UK to compete to be named top in their chosen field. Winners from the UK final are then given the chance to progress to the international competition as part of Team UK, which will be held in Kazan, Russia in 2019.
Andrew and David impressed the judges after winning their regional heats earlier in the year and will now compete against other high scoring apprentices across three days in Birmingham, where judges will ask them to repeat the challenges of the initial round in front of an estimated 70,000 visitors. They'll be looking for technical precision, ability and evidence that they've improved their skills.
To prepare for the competition, both Andrew and David have been dedicated to fine tuning their skills over evenings and weekends, with the help of their employers and tutors.
Andrew, who works at Elliot MOT in Sandyford, said ahead of the final, “I’m really looking forward to the final, I’m proud to have made it through to the top six in automotive in the UK and I’m grateful that Newcastle College has given me that opportunity.
“The amount of support I’ve received from my tutors here is amazing, they’ve given up their own time to give me extra training and they couldn’t be more supportive. I hope I do them proud.”
David, a Hodgson Sayers apprentice, commented: “It’s really exciting to be going to the WorldSkills UK final. I definitely couldn’t have got this far without the help of my tutors and the tradesmen that I work with, but I’m quite confident about my chances, the training and advice I’ve had has been great.”
Tony Lewin, Principal of Newcastle College stated: “It’s fantastic that two of our students will be representing the College and the North East on the national stage.
“Both Andrew and David performed extremely well in their regional heats and they are excellent ambassadors for the College. I’ve every confidence that they’ll do just as well at the final.
“WorldSkills is an important competition which highlights the merits of vocational education. It encourages students and apprentices to raise their aspirations and helps them develop lifelong skills, which I’m sure will benefit both David and Andrew in what will no doubt be hugely successful careers.”
WorldSkills UK Live will be held at Birmingham NEC from 15 – 17 November 2018. Winners will be announced at the event on 17 November.