Trainees are some of most talented

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YOUNG trainees in Portsmouth are building on their success after being recognised as some of the most talented in the south.

Nine Highbury College construction trainees floored the competition at the south heat of SkillBuild – the UK’s largest multi-trade competition.

Organisers say it shows the region is painting a bright future for itself within the construction industry.

Gillian Cain, regional delivery manager for CITB-ConstructionSkills South, said: ‘SkillBuild is one of the many ways that we add value to the industry by working on its behalf to encourage new talent to join the sector.

‘In addition to encouraging excellence and helping to raise standards in training, SkillBuild allows competitors to showcase their skills, helping to boost their confidence and their careers.

‘It offers employers the opportunity to highlight the calibre of their workforce and the high level of on-the-job training that they provide, helping to produce that all important competitive edge needed to win new business in a challenging market.’

The competition, which is managed by CITB-ConstructionSkills as part of its ongoing work to bring new blood into the construction industry, saw more than 80 budding trainees build, plaster and paint their way to success to be crowned the best in their chosen field.

The finalists will go on to a national competition later this year.

The winners included Jamie Bone, 16, and Michael Dobson, 27, who won first and third place respectively in plastering; Matthew Barnes, 18, Thomas Jeffrey, 19, and Simon Long, 40, won first, second and third places respectively in wall and floor tiling.

Matthew Wilson and Craig McNee, both 18 years old, who came second and third respectively in carpentry; Connor Edwards, 19, who came second in bricklaying; and Jack Coker, 16, who won third place in painting and decorating.

Matthew Barnes said: ‘I’m really proud to have won at SkillBuild as it shows that I am one of the best trainee tradespeople in the south, which is a huge achievement.

‘The competition was really tough but it was a great chance for me to show some of the skills that I use every day and to have these recognised.’