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Newcastle apprentices aiming for gold at national final  

Apprentices from Newcastle College have reached the finals of a prestigious national skills competition, to be held in Birmingham in November

Jordan Condren and David Crank, both roofing and slating apprentices with national-award winning building and roofing specialist, Hodgson Sayers, will compete in the final round of Skillbuild UK, the nation’s largest skills, apprenticeships and careers event. A third apprentice, Brad Hayes, has also been offered a reserve place.

The three-day event will see apprentices from across the country compete to be the best in their chosen field. The highest scoring eligible competitors will be given the chance to progress to Squad UK and compete at an international level at Euroskills, which will be held in Graz, Austria in 2020.

Competitors will be asked by judges to expand on skills they demonstrated in the regional heats by repeating the challenges in front of a 70,000 strong crowd and will be looking for technical precision and ability.

Both Jordan and David impressed the judges after winning their regional heats earlier in the year and will now compete against other high scoring apprentices for the chance of scoring bronze, silver or gold.

The pair will be returning to the final for the second time after David won bronze and Jordan took silver in last year’s competition, with both now hoping to improve on their results.

Jordan commented: “It was an amazing experience to compete at the SkillBuild UK final last year and even better to walk away with a silver medal.

“I’ve continued to work hard this year with the hope of making it back to improve my score and I feel ready for the challenge.

“The teams at Hodgson Sayers and Newcastle College are both extremely supportive and have really helped me to develop my skills.”

To prepare for the competition, both Jordan and David have been dedicated to fine tuning their skills over evenings and weekends, with the help of their employers and tutors.

David said: “It’s really exciting to be going to the SkillBuild final again. 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.

“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 and improve on my bronze place.”

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 Jordan 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.”

Alan Bessford, Programme Leader for Roofing, Slating and Tiling at Newcastle College, said: “SkillBuild is an important programme which showcases the merits of apprenticeships and vocational education. The competition aspect really encourages our apprentices to up their game and help them develop lifelong skills, which I’m sure Jordan and David will benefit from in their careers.

“I’m really proud to see both of them make it to the final and I’m confident that they’ll have a fantastic and valuable experience, no matter the results.”

The Skillbuild UK final will be held at Birmingham NEC from 20–23 November 2019. Winners will be announced at the event on November 23.