Budding bricklayers in action

Students and professionals build future together

Torbay Weekly

Construction professionals of the future took part in the largest multi-trade skills competition at South Devon College.

SkillBuild, delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board, is a series of competitions where the very best construction apprentices and trainees compete in their chosen trade, including bricklaying, roofing and carpentry.

As well as the regional heat of the SkillBuild competition, 400 local primary and secondary schoolchildren were invited in and given the chance to try out different construction skills, overseen by professionals.

Building blocks for the future
Building blocks for the future

“It was a really exciting day,” explained Dean Bowden, Head of Curriculum for Construction and the Built Environment at the college. “As well as watching the competitors the school children had the chance to try out different construction skills themselves. It was fantastic to see everyone having a go, learning some new skills and having fun too.”

Daisy Dunn, 11, from Curledge Street Academy said she had a really fun day. “We’ve done bricklaying, made a roof in carpentry and loads more.”

“I’ve really enjoyed building things,” said 11-year-old Benjamin Hobbs, also from Curledge Street Academy. “Today has been great.”

The event at the college was run in partnership with Build Torbay, a new TDA/Torbay Council initiative set up to inspire a future workforce to take up careers in construction.

Trying their hand at carpentry
Trying their hand at carpentry

Currently there are 1,500 people in Torbay working in the industry. However due to the amount of redevelopment planned locally, 32,000 more construction roles will be created in the South West by 2025.

Swithin Long, Torbay Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration, tourism and housing said: “Build Torbay is working in partnership with South Devon College and other partners in the construction sector to promote training and careers to Torbay pupils and residents considering a career change. Construction offers around 180 different job roles with a variety of pathways suitable for all levels of entry. It’s an opportunity for Torbay residents to work in a well-paid sector that enables them to stay in the Bay or pursue a global career.”

Lucie Wright, CITB Careers Strategy Manager, added: “I’m really excited to see the fresh talent coming through the regional heats this year. With the current skills gap in construction, it’s so important to encourage these young trainees to give the competition their best shot.

“If you’re serious about a career in construction, SkillBuild is a fantastic opportunity to sharpen and increase your employability skills. As highly skilled individuals, the competition could have a huge impact on competitors, but it could also inspire other young people considering a career in construction. CITB wishes everyone involved the very best of luck in the process.”