Dromore apprentice picks up gold medal

A DROMORE construction apprentice has picked up a gold medal in this year’s Skillbuild competition at the North West Regional College’s Greystone campus in Limavady.

South Eastern Regional College’s Adam Lyness saw off stiff competition to take first place in the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning category.

Gavin Murray from Aghalee took second spot while Ballyclare man Gareth McConnell made it a cool sweep for SERC taking third spot.

The three were among 16 top construction apprentices from SERC to put their skills to the test and be judged by Skillbuild Northern Ireland judges in disciplines including bricklaying, cabinet-making, carpentry, plastering, plumbing and refrigeration and air conditioning.

Providing a unique stage to showcase construction excellence and talent, Skillbuild NI is held annually each spring, with the top local construction apprentices competing to win coveted titles in 12 different construction craft areas.

The winners may then go on to represent Northern Ireland in the UK Skillbuild Finals and potentially represent the UK at WorldSkills.

The apprentices were set a test project designed to challenge their ability to follow detailed instructions, produce accurate and neat work and be economical with materials while working to strict timescales – all essential requirements for today’s construction industry.

Competitors were continuously assessed throughout the two day competition under the watchful eye of the judges.

SERC Joinery apprentice Stephen Mooney from Belfast won third place in the Cabinet Making category and Andrew Gill from Saintfield secured second place in the plastering and dry wall systems category.

The students, who all study at the Lisburn Campus, hope that the experiences from the competition can act as platform for success throughout their career.

John Nixon, Head of School for Construction and Engineering at SERC said, “Competitions like Skillbuild NI provide a unique stage for the apprentices to demonstrate the skills and expertise they have gained whilst studying at the College.

“This high-profile competition attracts the best up-and-coming young talent in a range of construction trades from across the province. Their success is a credit to the lecturers and employers who have been supporting them in advance of the intense competition.”