Competing for the future with SkillBuild

January 2020

The career-making SkillBuild final took place in November, with dozens of talented young people competing for a prestigious national title.

The event is hosted at WorldSkills UK Live, which sees over 70,000 visitors coming to Birmingham’s NEC over the course of three days.

The event was showcased to a wide audience, with many young people and their influencers, including parents and careers advisers, attending.

The road to the final starts with a series of regional heats, taking place across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. With trainees and apprentices competing in their chosen trade, the very best are invited to compete in the final.

The highest-scoring medal winners are selected to compete at an international level at EuroSkills and WorldSkills.

The SkillBuild competition provides young people with the opportunity to find inspiration and make a life-changing connection to the construction industry.

Adam Batty travelled to the final in Birmingham from York to compete. He trained as an apprentice in the family business and applied to SkillBuild on a whim – he took home the Gold in Bricklaying.

It’s a tough competition, but one worth entering.

Adam says the newly introduced speed rounds add extra pressure, but that the skills he’s learned and experienced he’s gained as an apprentice kicked into gear. He credits the judges for their guidance, support and teaching along the way: “There’s so much support from the judges and from CITB, and they all really helped me get to the end of the competition.”

“There’s so much support from the judges and from CITB and they all really helped me get to the end of the competition.”

Adam Batty

Gold Bricklaying Winner, SkillBuild

The SkillBuild final puts trainees through a number of rigorous and timed exercises, and technique under pressure is one of the central considerations as judges make their way along the competing participants.

Sandie Webster competed and won Painting and Decorating Gold in 2012 and was invited back as a judge for the 2018 and 2019 finals. She says coming back as a judge definitely lessened the pressure, but allowed her to apply what she learned during the competition to help guide 2019’s competitors – and she noticed an increase in the number of women taking part: “I’d love to see more women entering the competition next year and look forward to welcoming more women into construction. If I can do it, then anyone else can if they really want to.”

As well as showcasing talented and highly skilled trainees and apprentices who work well under pressure, competing in the competition has a real-world impact. Sandie Webster says: “When I won, it really encouraged my entrepreneurial spirit and gave me the confidence to work for myself, instead of for someone else. Having support from CITB and my college tutors was a great help and I used the funds from winning to start my business.”

Adam won Gold in November and is already seeing the impact that competing in Skillbuild has had on the family business: “We’ve just signed a contract with Newall Homes and Byland Developments to do all the bricklaying and groundworks for eight of their homes. We definitely think winning SkillBuild helped seal the deal.”

Registration for this years event opens in March for all aspirational and talented team members. Find out more on the SkillBuild registration page.

Related Articles