Edinburgh College students win gold at WorldSkills UK Live

Two Edinburgh College students can now say they’re the best in the UK after winning at a national skills competition.

Tony Mailer and Calum Munro were awarded gold medals for their outstanding performance in a series of skills challenges at WorldSkills UK Live at the weekend.

Tony beat off stiff competition from five other students to win the gold medal in the automotive technology category after completing six different challenges including working on a Ferrari.

The thirty-seven-year-old said: It is phenomenal to have won. I had a feeling I had done well, I felt I completed all the tasks well and in time. But seeing my name on the screen, going up on stage and then getting to see my family afterwards brought a tear to my eye – just an incredible experience.

“The competition was brilliant, one of the highlights was getting to work on a Ferrari, just because of what the machine is.

“I’d encourage any future students thinking of competing, to go for it – definitely. I’ve gained so much extra knowledge through working with high-tech equipment and tools which is always good.”

Stonemason Calum, who now works for Fife-based FA Sweeney, won his gold medal after completing two stone cutting challenges within strict time conditions. Calum’s stones were judged to have been the most accurate against the templates he prepared in the first section of both his challenges.

Calum said: “It feels fantastic to have won, it came as real surprise, as the standard of the other seven finalists was really high – it’s a really good feeling to have won.

“It’s a great thing to be a part of, something completely different and just a great experience overall. I’m really grateful to the college and my employer for the support and encouragement they’ve given me throughout my apprenticeship and the competition.”

Tony and Calum were part of the eight-strong student team which took part in the event at the NEC in Birmingham. As well as Tony and Calum’s golds, Hamish Innes collected a bronze medal for stonemasonry while Jed Smith was highly commended for his performance in bricklaying.

Students also took part in the roofing and network infrastructure categories.

WorldSkills Live UK is a festival of skills competitions which sees medals were awarded in 70 different categories in total. More than 500 top apprentices and students from 115 colleges and training providers across the UK competed at the event.

Engineering curriculum manager Ross Milligan attended the event and watched all Edinburgh College students compete in their various disciplines. He said: “To get to WorldSkills UK Live is tremendous achievement, well done to all of our students. To win two golds and a bronze is absolutely brilliant, we’re very proud of everyone involved.

“It was also fantastic to see so many Scottish colleges in the running for awards at the finals. The level of competition at the event was very robust across all disciplines. There was really strong practical skills and knowledge being demonstrated in this competition. We wish all of our students well and have no doubt this success will enhance their employability attributes and help go further in their training and careers.”