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Skills and thrills

There was double delight for SECTT as rising stars Rhys Boni and Paul Anderson clinched gold and silver respectively at WorldSkills UK LIVE 2018. Now read our diary of this massive event – and find out about the other competitors who flew the flag for Scotland

Regulation Visit

Rhys Boni (left) proudly shows off his gold medal with NET’s Jon Dicken

SECTT was delighted to have four candidates invited to take part in this year’s SkillELECTRIC final, part of the prestigious WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC in Birmingham.

The quartet were selected from heats that took place all over Scotland earlier this year, followed by a grand final at Dundee & Angus College.

The four competitors who made the journey south for the event in November were: • Paul Anderson – McGill & Co Ltd / Dundee & Angus College • Rhys Boni – John Hogarth Ltd / Borders College • Jordan Bremner – Chapman Electrical Ltd / North East Scotland College • Callum McGarrigle – Weir & McQuiston (Scotland) Ltd / New College Lanarkshire (Motherwell Campus).

At SECTT, we can prepare them as much as possible for the actual competition. However, until you attend the event itself you have no idea of the scale, with 500 people competing to be the UK’s best in 70 different disciplines with 85,000 visitors over the three days.

How lucky I was to walk through hall after hall of skills from catering, floristry and body art to motor vehicles, stonemasonry and joinery. Wow! I even danced, hugged and played with Salt the robot.

Down to business The competition started on Thursday 15 November, with a complicated electrical installation task comprising four circuits with various components and equipment. The task had to be completed within a strict timeframe and was marked against tough criteria including wiring and connection skills, inspection and testing, and measuring and marking out, which had to be accurate to 2mm. The tasks continued into the second day, with the judges watching every move just as closely as the spectators!

On Saturday 17 November, the electrical candidates demonstrated continuous personal development (CPD), working in pairs to install a remote camera door entry system, donated by Scolmore to each apprentice.

By the afternoon, all the candidates looked exhausted, but attended a small presentation of donated gifts from Scolmore, Di-Log, NAPIT and Unite the Union. Then it was off to shower, eat and get ready for the evening event.

For the candidates to be one of the top eight in the UK is very special and they should be proud of themselves. It was lovely to see support from their families, employers and college lecturers – all these people play a part in their success.

Prize time

At the celebration event, all the skills were recognised and I was excited and nervous as I waited for the results to be read out.

I was delighted when Paul Anderson was named silver medal winner and then thrilled when Rhys Boni was called forward to receive gold. What a result!

I understood from the judges that the scores were very close throughout and that the standard was extremely high.

Rhys will now go on and sit his Final Integrated Competence Assessment (FICA). He’s had a difficult year after his company went into liquidation, but he was quickly taken on by another company, where he’s settled in well.

David Lowe, Assistant Principal of Borders College, said: “As a college we are extremely pleased for Rhys and for SECTT.

“This is a remarkable achievement and one which is down to not just the hard work of Rhys but also to the support and training given to him by his employer, SECTT, and the lecturing staff here at Borders College. We would also like to thank Scolmore for donating a generous prize to the college.”

Runner-up Paul will now receive a golden ticket to compete in WorldSkills UK LIVE in 2019. If he gains enough points there, he could be invited to be part of the UK Squad for WorldSkills 2021 in Shanghai.

Chris Parker, Electrical Course Leader at Dundee & Angus College, said: “The whole team here at Dundee and Angus college is very proud of Paul’s achievement.

“He could not have managed this without his excellent attitude towards his apprenticeship, his determination and plenty of hard work. Many hours have gone into perfecting his skills and this is a very well-earned reward for all his dedication.

“McGills have also been excellent in the run-up to this competition and we are very grateful for the level of support shown. We all now look forward to the future to see if we can help Paul get into team UK for WorldSkills.”

Fiona Harper, The Secretary of the SJIB said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the SJIB Apprentices who delivered their very best efforts at this prestigious competition. Congratulations to them, their employers and to SECTT, the Industry’s Training Provider. The WorldSkills Competitions reflects the diversity of industry and commerce across the world and provides a wonderful platform for young people to showcase their skills excellence.

We at the SJIB, are very proud of their achievement and wish all four Apprentices continued success in the Electrotechnical Industry.”

On a personal note, I would like to thank employers, colleges and my own team for the support that they give to all apprentices. Well done again guys – it really is quite an achievement. Electricians: What a skill!

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