Posted on 28 April 2023

The largest and longest-running construction skills competition in the UK returns, as Leeds College of Building prepares to host one of the SkillBuild 2023 UK regional heats.

SkillBuild is delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and showcases some of the brightest talent, as highly skilled learners and apprentices go head-to-head to be crowned winner of their chosen trade.

Competitors will be tested on their technical abilities, time management, problem-solving, and skills working under pressure. The prestigious competition is proven to improve competitors’ technical and employability skills, as well as advancing career options.

There are 15 regional qualifiers taking place across the UK from 27 April. Leeds College of Building will host the final heat on Thursday, 29 June, at both North Street and Southbank Campuses. Competing trades include Bricklaying, Bricklaying Level 1, Roof Slating & Tiling, Carpentry, Joinery, Painting & Decorating, Plastering, Plastering & Drywall Systems, and Wall & Floor Tiling.

Following the regional qualifiers, the top eight scoring competitors from each trade category will be invited to take part in the UK national final. For the first time, this year’s national final will take place at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on 21, 22 & 23 November 2023. The arena has previously played host to the National Badminton Championships, darts tournaments, and various music concerts.

Three Leeds College of Building students took medal positions at last year’s national final. At a special award ceremony presented by Steph McGovern in her Packed Lunch studio, Zara Dupont received gold in the Plastering and Drywall Systems category. Fellow students Kyron Sharlotte and Aaron Brady also took bronze positions in Roof Slating & Tiling and Wall & Floor Tiling respectively, while Aeron Murray received Highly Commended in Roof Slating & Tiling.

Speaking about the competition last year, Zara said:

“I heard about SkillBuild through my tutor and decided to enter as it can give you bigger opportunities. The experience has been great […] and it’s definitely the competition days that I enjoy most.”

CITB’s recent Construction Skills Network (CSN) report states that almost 225,000 extra workers will be required to meet UK construction demand by 2027. It also highlights that construction is expected to remain a sector where there is demand for workers, despite the current economic uncertainty. Covering ten different trades, SkillBuild is a fantastic opportunity to alter perceptions and promote the diverse range of roles available.

Tim Balcon, CITB Chief Executive, said:

“I always look forward to the SkillBuild regional heats, as it’s the first glimpse we get into the fantastic variety of young talent coming through to industry. SkillBuild is a wonderful initiative which aims to attract a diverse range of recruits, and with the current skills gap, it places even greater importance on the competition and its ability to promote construction careers to a wider audience.

“SkillBuild not only helps young people to grow personally, increasing their confidence and social skills, but it’s also proven to assist them professionally by developing their technical and employability skills. While a challenging experience, if you’re serious about a career in construction, SkillBuild is an excellent opportunity. I wish all competitors the very best of luck for the heats this year!”

Sponsors of this year’s CITB SkillBuild include Albion Stone, BAL, Band of Builders, British Gypsum, Institute of Carpenters, Crown Paints, Forterra, The Keystone Group, Nicholls & Clarke, NFRC, Schluter, SPAX, Stabila, Stone Federation, TARMAC, The Tile Association, The Worshipful Company of Tylers and Bricklayers and Weber.

To find out more about SkillBuild and the regional qualifiers, visit Go Construct.