First Surrey Colleges Construction Skills Competition Showcases Student Talent

This week marked a significant milestone for vocational education in Surrey as the first Surrey FE Construction Skills competition unfolded.

The event, which saw participation from the four colleges constituting the Surrey FE group – Activate Learning, Brooklands College, East Surrey College, and Nescot (North East Surrey College of Technology) – highlighted the value of collaboration between the educational institutions and kicked off a series of joint activities planned among them.

Hosted at Activate Learning’s Guildford campus, the competition brought together 36 competitors forming teams from each college. The venue buzzed with energy as students congregated in the newly inaugurated Carpentry workshops, eager to embark on the day’s challenge.

Divided into Level 1 and Level 2 categories, students were tasked with different assignments. Level 1 students focused on mastering basic joints, while Level 2 students were challenged to construct a door lining, as well as prepare and hang a door in the frame. With a time limit of 4 hours, participants showcased their skills and creativity under pressure.

Geoff Coughlan, Director of Construction and Engineering at Activate Learning, expressed his delight in hosting the inaugural competition. “It was incredible to witness the dedication and high skill levels of our potential future tradespeople,” he remarked, extending gratitude to all involved in organizing the event.

During a mid-day break for lunch, students took a breather before diving back into their tasks, closely observed by their tutors and a panel of judges including Matt Sindall from Beard Construction, Eddie Dignan from E M Dignan Building Contractors, and Steve Moy from East Surrey College.

As the competition concluded, accolades were bestowed upon outstanding participants. In the Level 1 category, Luke Jones from East Surrey College secured the first position, with Will Hobbs from NESCOT and Stanley Trigg from Brooklands College sharing the joint second place.

For Level 2, the duo Guilherme Abreu and Josh Fernandez from Brooklands College clinched the top spot, followed by Jack Ewles & James Lock from Guildford College in second place, and Ollie Sheeham & Ben Newman, also from Guildford College, securing third place.

Prizes included Love to Shop vouchers for the lucky winners as well as wooden trophies hand crafted by Activate Learning’s Furniture Training Centre, Rycotewood. All were awarded by Paul Newman, Executive Group Director of Activate Learning’s Faculties & Colleges (Southern region).

Lorne Richardson, Assistant Principal at Brooklands College, commended the students for their achievements, emphasizing the competition’s role in showcasing the county’s burgeoning talent pool.

“I am very proud of the students representing Brooklands College,” he stated, congratulating the winners for their success.

The Surrey Colleges Construction Skills competition not only celebrated the prowess of budding tradespeople but also underscored the collaborative spirit among educational institutions in nurturing skilled professionals for the future. As the first of many joint initiatives, it sets a promising precedent for continued cooperation and excellence in vocational education across Surrey.