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Lakes College Apprentices Win Big at WorldSkills

The vocational skills of some of Lakes College’s Apprentices were celebrated at this year’s WorldSkills national finals. Welder Jamie Lee Robinson won a gold medal for his work at the three day event; the highest accolade the competitors could receive. Fellow welding Apprentice Conor Alexander won the silver medal, while Engineering Apprentice Ryan Allenby won a bronze medal in the CNC Turning category.

The elite competition took place at The Skills Show 2015 in the Birmingham NEC between Thursday 19th – Saturday 21st November. The finalists were asked to complete a series of tasks in their chosen disciplines, competing against some of the best vocational students in the country. Their work was then judged and awards were presented at the Show’s Big Celebration event on Saturday evening.

The college had a total of seven finalists participating in the event, which is more than any other college in the North West. Jonathan Rowell, a Welding Apprentice at Hargreaves Ductwork, and Ryan Allenby have also been put forward for selection for the WorldSkills SquadUK, which could see them compete in the international finals in Abu Dhabi in 2017. Jay Daniells, the finalist in the graphic design category was also regarded as highly commended.

Jamie Lee also won silver at last year’s competition. He comments, “The competition was really tough and the tasks we were given were really complex. But thanks to the training I was given by my tutor Clive Bell, I felt prepared for the challenge. I feel like the experience has improved my skills and going forward I’ll be able to carry out my job at a really high standard. I’d definitely recommend WorldSkills to anyone who is willing to put in the hard work and effort to compete.”

TaTa Steel’s Director of Manufacturing, John Coughlan, said: “Jamie is an extremely talented young man who has learned from the experience and knowledge of the staff in TSP while at the same time bringing enormous skills and understanding of technology to display his and more so the talents of employees engaged in delivering trade skills across TSP.”

Conor Alexander is also an Apprentice with Hargreaves Ductwork. He comments, “Competing in WorldSkills was a really good experience which I would definitely recommend to other students. I’ve been training really hard with help from my tutor Clive Bell and I definitely feel like it paid off. I’m now hoping to get back into training with the aim of securing a gold medal at next year’s competition.”

Ryan Allenby, an Apprentice at M-Sport comments, “I was really nervous about competing but thanks to the training I received I didn’t find the tasks too technically challenging or overwhelming. WorldSkills has made me much more confident and allowed me to develop my skills so now I can do more at work. I was really pleased to win bronze and I am determined to secure myself a place on Squad UK in WorldSkills in Abu Dhabi 2017. I also have to thank M-Sport who have supported me throughout all of the training and competitions.”

M-Sport Managing Director, Malcolm Wilson OBE, said “I am absolutely delighted with Ryan’s performance. He works extremely hard and has a real determination and pride in all that he does. A big congratulations to him as I know how much time and effort he has put into developing his skills – both here at M-Sport and at Lakes College.”

“Our collaboration with Lakes College has allowed us to bring some of our region’s most promising engineers on to perform at the highest level. Ryan is a perfect example of the engineering talent Cumbria has to offer and we are constantly on the lookout for people like him.

“It is young talent such as his that will see our company progress and – with our new Evaluation Centre under development – we look forward to bringing more of the region’s best young engineers into the team.”

Lakes College Principal, Chris Nattress said: “I’m delighted to with our successes at the WorldSkills UK finals. Getting to this stage is a significant achievement in itself for our learners, and testament to their hard work and commitment, as well as the staff giving their time and expertise to support them. This is a stunning set of results and tribute to the skills and dedication of all involved. We go from strength to strength and this shows the calibre of skills we can develop and nurture.”