Gateshead College to host northern heat of national competition

Talented young engineers from across the North East will pitch their skills against each other later this month to be in with a chance of representing their country in the world's biggest skills competition.  

Young plumbers, electricians and heating and refrigeration engineers from across the region will be going head to head in the North of England heat of the Skill M&E competition on May 30 at Gateshead College.

Winners of the UK competition, organised by the sector skills council for building services engineering, SummitSkills, have the chance to go on to the largest international skills competition in the world, WorldSkills.

This is the first time that Gateshead College will host the event and the only time all four competitions will take place at the same venue. The event will see 34 of the North East's top mechanical and electrical engineering students battle it out at the Team Valley-based Skills Academy for Construction. The North of England event is one of only six regional competitions taking part across England, Scotland and Wales.

Tracy Ashcroft, Head of Group for Engineering and the Built Environment at Gateshead College said: "It's fantastic that we have been chosen to host this prestigious competition and we are delighted to be welcoming the competitors to our purpose-built campus.

"This is an important event which showcases the results of the hard work and effort of the individual competitors and highlights the dynamic training being delivered by colleges and employers.

"The Gateshead College Skills Academy for Construction encompasses some of the best training facilities in the country for plumbing, gas and electrical installation and engineering.

"We're excited to be part of this year's event and would like to wish all of the competitors the very best in their preparations for the competition." 

Skill M&E consists of four skills competitions, SkillELECTRIC, SkillFRIDGE, SkillPLUMB and SkillPIPE, that seek to find the finest mechanical and electrical engineers in the building service engineering sector. During the one day competition entrants will be assessed on a series of practical tests reflecting day-to-day work. Winners of the regional heats will be invited to compete in the UK grand final to be held in November at The Skills Show at the Birmingham NEC.

The UK winners could then go on to the WorldSkills competition to be held in Leipzig, Germany in 2013.

The competition was founded to promote high quality skills and technical abilities across the building services sector. For those competing it can bring invaluable benefits as they become recognised for their exceptional skill while their employers can enhance their business reputation and improve the skills of their workforce.

"We are delighted that Gateshead College expressed an interest in hosting our skills competitions. It's an ideal competition venue that has excellent on site facilities. We are very grateful to the college for their support and look forward to four successful competitions," says Neil Collishaw, head of competitions and awards at SummitSkills.

The Skills Academy has recently seen the completion of a £7.5 million extension which, along with the high quality teaching, make it the North East's first choice for anyone wishing to study towards a career in the building services sector.

While at the Skills Academy the competitors and their tutors will have the opportunity to see the specialist new green training facilities for renewable energy technologies which have placed Gateshead College at the forefront of green training in the UK.