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Apprentice raises the roof at national competition

Published: November 28, 2016

Cornwall College St Austell apprenticeships

A Cornwall College St Austell student has triumphed at the WorldSkills UK roofing, slating and tiling final held in Birmingham after he beat off strong competition from some of the best young roofers across the United Kingdom to take the silver.

Sam Blount, a roofing, slating and tiling apprentice through Cornwall College Business and employed by Graham Barker Roofing Services Ltd, progressed to the final through the South West heat of the competition held at the St Austell campus earlier this year.

Competing against eight of the top roofing students in Birmingham, Sam, alongside his brother Damien who was also competing, had 19 hours to complete two different roofing tasks: a plain tile rig and a slated rig, which were marked to the millimetre and assessed on seven different categories, including the precision of the battens, tiles, health & safety and overall appearance.

Course Manager for Roofing and Tiling Sean Sullivan from Cornwall College St Austell said: “Damien and Sam have just returned from Birmingham where they competed in the national roofing competition at the skills show. As their tutor I am proud that they were both included in this year’s top 8 roofing apprentices and that they were both able to demonstrate their ability and roofing skills when the pressure was on during the 3 day competition. Damien was only notified about his place to compete a week prior to the competition.

“He did a great job despite not having had the preparation time other learners did. Sam demonstrated his ability to stay focused throughout the 6 tasks keeping ahead of others, working hard and delivering a high standard of work. This is a great result, another year where Cornwall learners have showcased their skills at national competition. 3 gold and 2 silver medals over past 5 years, well done lads!”

Entering the WorldSkills UK competition is proven to catapult a person’s career. Taking part enables competitors to build on their skills, test their knowledge against their peers in industry and showcase their potential to employers. So what does Sam think about placing second overall in the UK?  Sam said: “It feels amazing to be one of the top apprentices in the country and I’m chuffed to bits with silver, I worked very hard for it and it paid off. I love to have a challenge, the harder the better and have always been a fan of slate patterns so enjoyed having to do one of those but the plain tiling was a very challenging but I got through it.

“Everyone at Cornwall College has been absolutely amazing throughout my course and taught me so much to help me get ready for the competition. My employer Graham Barker has also been very supportive for me and my brother, putting us through college and also giving us time off to practice and then also the week to compete. I would like to say thanks to everyone who helped me along the way including Andrew Bragg who regularly text and rung us for support and especially my brother who competed with me and got me focused on the tasks on the day.”

Sam’s win this year is the latest in an ongoing run of successful roofing students from Cornwall College St Austell to achieve a place at the WorldSkills national finals, which includes 3 gold and 2 silver medals over the past 5 years. Director of Technology for The Cornwall College Group Justin Olosunde offers his congratulations: “We are extremely proud of Sam and Damien’s accomplishments at WorldSkills this year, their dedication and professionalism certainly paid off. The ongoing success of our apprentices at national level competitions shows the high-quality apprenticeship schemes we provide through Cornwall College Business, which not only equip our learners with the skills and specialist knowledge that leads to sustainable employment but also allows them to make contributions to the local economy.”

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