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Building Skills for the future

Construction apprentices from all over Northern Ireland tested their skills in the largest multi-trade skills competition in the Province at Nutts Corner on 29th and 30th May 2008.

Providing a unique stage to showcase excellence and talent, Skillbuild Northern Ireland is hosted annually each spring. This year 100 of the top apprentices competed  to win coveted titles in 12 different construction craft areas ranging from plumbing to brickwork, and with cabinet making featured for the first time. The winners may go on to represent Northern Ireland in the Skillbuild National and World finals.

The Skillbuild Northern Ireland competition test pieces challenged the ability of apprentices to follow detailed instructions; to produce accurate and neat work outputs; and to be economical with materials while working to strict timescales - all essential requirements for today’s construction industry. The competition not only encourages trainees to improve their own skills but provides an example of the high quality work being produced in training organisations across Northern Ireland to meet local industry skills needs.

As David Cooper, Chairman of Skillbuild Northern Ireland, said; “The young people who compete in Skillbuild are a credit to the industry and help promote a positive image of construction to other young people. We will always need skilled tradespeople and events like this demonstrate that it is possible to reach highest standards in trade careers.”

Commending the apprentices on their hard work and dedication shown in their field of expertise, Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey, commented:  “Raising the skills level locally is of fundamental importance to our economy. Through Skillbuild the status and standard of technical and professional education has risen to a very high level which can only be good news to the construction industry.  However, we cannot afford to show complacency and must continue to raise our standards.”

The Minister continued: “The Skillbuild Northern Ireland competition allows our young apprentices to demonstrate their skills on the local stage.  As we look forward to the UK Skills competition and ultimately Worldskills, we hope that today’s successes will herald the start of a journey of personal achievement and public acclaim.  To this end I would encourage everyone to go on and fly the flag for Northern Ireland construction crafts and test their skills against the best in the UK and the world.”

For more information contact Siobhan Daly 028 90 824217

To keep up to date with all the latest news on what ConstructionSkills is doing and find out more about how your company can get involved in helping secure the future of the UK construction industry register for the Skills Update

Sarah Travers, BBC Northern Ireland with Michael Jones from Rutledge Training Fermanagh, Overall Young Apprentice of the year 2008.

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