News & Events
Welders make their mark
- Posted by: pembscollegesuperadmin
Talented young welders from Pembrokeshire College recently competed against some of the best young welders in the UK in a bid to take home the title of BOC UK Apprentice Welder of the Year.
The finals of this prestigious competition were held during October at The Welding Institute (TWI) in Cambridge. The three day event saw eight young hopefuls complete some extremely challenging welding tasks as the judges sought to find the best of the best.
To get through to the finals the competitors had already succeeded at local, regional and home-nation stages of the competition with Neil Brace, an apprentice with Mainport 1990, and Billy Davies, an apprentice with Jenkins and Davies Engineering, both from Pembrokeshire College, picking up first and second place at the Welsh final. Already crowned the best in Wales, Neil and Billy were up for the challenge of competing against the best from the rest of the UK.
The competition saw competitors produce complex welds using the MMA, MAG and TIG welding processes. Competitors completed two large fabrication pieces in a 4 hour time slot under the watchful eyes of the judges. The welds had to meet the required specification and were judged from a number of criteria. The drawings were produced by Alstom and judged by independent judges, who work alongside the TWI.
After a tough few days, Neil Brace of Mainport 1990 took home a very respectable second place whilst Billy Davies of Jenkins and Davies picked up third place – proof that Pembrokeshire is producing some of the most talented welders in the UK.
Jo Bradshaw and Mike Tennick, welding lecturers at MITEC, accompanied Neil and Billy to the competition and commented: “Throughout the competition both Neil and Billy worked extremely hard representing the College and their employers to a very high standard. This is the 5th consecutive year that our students have been placed in the top three in the Welsh finals, to then go forward to the UK finals. The skills and talent of young welders being taught by Pembrokeshire College’s MITEC centre are being recognised far beyond Pembrokeshire with large engineering companies across the UK commenting on the consistently high standard of welders being trained at MITEC. We would like to say huge congratulations to both the students and thank their employers for their constant support, without the support from local business we would not be able to run such a successful course.”
Following Neil’s success, David Harris, Managing Director at Mainport commented: “Neil is becoming an accomplished welder, right now he is our best apprentice and is setting a great example to the other apprentices. Competing in national competitions places further investment into the apprenticeship scheme, which benefits both business and our employees.”
Paul Muxworthy, HESQ Director at Mainport continued: “Candidates for our apprenticeship selection process come from various pathways – GSCEs, A-levels and mature students. We recently had 240 applications for 4 places, we decided to take on eight as the calibre was good, we even had a sports diploma student. The selection process includes full day of literacy and numeracy exams, followed by 3 interviews – it's very competitive. If students are interested in the apprenticeship