Edinburgh apprentices to compete in national construction final

Two stonemasonry apprentices from Edinburgh College will be competing at the UK National Final of the UK’s longest-running construction skills competition this week.

After competing in the regional qualifiers earlier this year, Calum Munro and Hamish Innes have progressed to the UK National Final, which will be held at the Birmingham NEC from 16-18 November.

SkillBuild, organised by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), has been showcasing the future talents of the industry for more than 40 years. The competition sees construction trainees from across the UK compete in their chosen trades, including bricklaying, wall and floor tiling and painting and decorating.

The duo will take on fellow finalists from across the UK, with the aim of winning SkillBuild 2017 and a possible place as part of Team UK for the international competition WorldSkills Kazan 2019.

Calum Munro said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to take part in SkillBuild. The competition is a great opportunity for me to try and improve my skills in stone cutting. The lecturers and instructors at the college as well my employer, FA Sweeney, have been great in helping me to prepare for the competition. It will be a new experience and I’m sure the standard will be very good so I just hope to try my best.”

Hamish Innes said: “I really enjoyed the first round of the competition and was pleased with my overall performance. I’m going to give it my best shot in the final and hopefully bring back some silverware.”

Curriculum manager for Built Environment at Edinburgh College, Juliet Harkin, said: “We are very proud of both Callum and Hamish and wish them the very best of luck. They are both conscientious students who are dedicated to their craft and worked extremely hard to score highly in the national heats and achieve a place in the finals. It’s amazing to have two students from the same discipline representing the college.”

If the students do well, they could follow in the footsteps of Jordan Charters, an Edinburgh College painting and decorating apprentice who has qualified to compete in WorldSkills in Abu Dhabi in October.

Ian Hughes, CITB partnerships director for Scotland, said: “It is fantastic to see Hamish and Calum make it into the UK National Final of SkillBuild 2017 and taking the opportunity to showcase their skills on a national stage.

“SkillBuild is one of many ways we can show the immense talent coming into our industry and attract more young people from the region into a rewarding construction career.”