Posted on 16 November 2022

Five exceptional Leeds College of Building students have their sights set on medal positions as they take part in the national finals of WorldSkills UK. The competition has been dubbed the ‘skills Olympics’ for some of the most in-demand construction trades.

Regional SkillBuild qualifiers delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) took place in the summer and showcased some of the most talented learners and apprentices across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The selected finalists are this week competing for gold, silver and bronze in their chosen skill.

Taking place at Edinburgh College until Thursday 17 November, WorldSkills UK is the country’s largest skills competition event, run in partnership with leading industry brands. This year, over 80 finalists progressed to the WorldSkills UK final in Scotland.

The Leeds College of Building finalists representing the Yorkshire & Humberside region are:

Zara Dupont, Plastering and Drywall Systems
Aeron Murray, Roofing: Slating and Tiling
Kyron Sharlotte, Roofing: Slating and Tiling
Joshua Easton, Roofing: Slating and Tiling
Aaron Brady, Wall and Floor Tiling

With an 18-hour project to complete, participants will be tested not only on their technical abilities, but on their time management, problem solving, and skills working under pressure.

School groups from across Edinburgh and the Lothians are also attending to see the competitions and to take in a visitor experience exhibition, which will provide further insight into careers in construction and life at college. Winners of the national finals will be announced on 25 November from 4pm, live on the Channel 4 show, Steph’s Packed Lunch.

Mark Sims, Leeds College of Building’s competition coordinator and lecturer, said:

“We’re delighted to see so many of our students make it through to the national finals. It’s a real testament to the work that they have been doing, and we foresee a bright future ahead for them. The College has a great track record at the competition, so we’re hopeful we can show the UK what we’re capable of achieving again!”

Finalist Zara Dupont from Bramley has an exceptional track record of success so far. She completed a Level 2 Technical Certificate in Plastering at Leeds College of Building and is now enrolled on an Interior Systems/Dry Lining Apprenticeship with Sparta Systems Ltd. Earlier this year, Zara won the overall Governor’s Award at the College annual BIG award ceremony. She reached the WorldSkills UK final in 2021 and was shortlisted again in 2022.

Zara said:

“It’s been two years of hard work so far and I’m excited about my new apprenticeship. I’ve had a great experience at Leeds College of Building and am thankful for the training I’ve received […] I’m excited about competing in WorldSkills again. Last year was like a practice run, so this time it’s the real thing and I’m in it to win!”

Jonathan Chivers, CITB Director of Product Management, said:

“The SkillBuild finals are a really exciting stage in the competition, as we get to see the best talent go head-to-head and show us their skills. From furniture and cabinet making to carpentry and painting and decorating, right through to roof slating and tiling, these trainees are showcasing the very best of construction technical education, which can act to inspire many other young people.

“The competition is without a doubt a challenging experience, but CITB is hugely proud of everyone that participates and wishes them all the very best of luck at the final in Edinburgh.”