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Former Bricklaying apprentice heads to national finals

Ben Walker, a former Oldham College apprentice, will compete at the SkillBuild National Finals in Milton Keynes this week.

SkillBuild is delivered by the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board) and is the UK’s largest multi-trade skills competition for Construction trainees and apprentices.

Ben completed a Level 2 Bricklaying Standard apprenticeship at Oldham College, passing his end-point assessment (EPA) earlier this year. He now works at J Walker Brickwork Ltd in Middleton.

To reach the national finals, Ben won the North West regional heat – and was placed in the top 8 highest scoring competitors from all the UK regional heats.

“I’m looking forward to competing in the final, although I am nervous. It’s going to be a challenge, but if I take my time to make sure I’m doing everything right, hopefully I’ll do well,” he says.

Ben has been practicing in the run-up to the final, where tasks will likely include building features such as axed arches: the curved arches seen over windows and door openings – typically, Ben says, the most difficult type of arch to construct.

“The builds we’re required to complete for the competition aren’t what I’m used to building day-to-day. As I’ve now learned the techniques, it’s just a case of applying them to get a good finish.”

The SkillBuild final takes place over three days, concluding with a presentation for the winners in each category on Thursday 23rd November.

“It’s been a great experience so far,” Ben says. “Whatever the result, I know I’ll take the skills I’ve learned and apply them in my day job.”

We’re wishing Ben the best of luck!

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