14th April 2016

South Devon College hosts National Construction Competition


Talented construction trainees from across the South West gathered at South Devon College on Tuesday 12th April. They competed in the South West Regional Heat of SkillBuild 2016, a national construction competition delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). It has been running for over 45 years touring the country looking for the best in regional talent from the construction industry. Trainees were put through their paces during the day under the watchful eye of expert judges showcasing the very best skills in all disciplines.


Over 100 competitors took part coming from 16 colleges, ranging from Swindon to Cornwall. Trades such as carpentry, cabinet making, brickwork, plastering, joinery and painting and decorating were all represented. The standard of entries at the competition was exceptional, with everyone involved competing for the right to participate in the national finals which will be held at The Skills Show, Birmingham NEC in November 2016.

 Photo 1

Tommy Walsh meeting children from a local primary school in the Bricklaying department.

In addition to the competition, there were numerous ‘Have a Go’ activities. Over 330 primary & secondary school students from across Torbay and Newton Abbot had the chance to engage in fun and exciting activities, all organised by Kier, Morgan Sindall, BAM and Midas. There was also a trade show with 20 local companies offering information, demonstrations and activities for all.


TV Personality and builder Tommy Walsh was invited to attend the SkillBuild competition. He took part in the ‘Have a Go’ activities and was happy to share his hints and tips with the students.

He said, “It’s been a lovely day and everyone here has been very positive. The kids that have been here have been a revelation, they’ve really enjoyed themselves and I think a lot of them have learnt something. Kids love to get dirty, use hammers and nails and try things they’re not allowed to at home. We’re looking toward the future and I think the fact that they’re given an opportunity to see what a vocational career is about gives us a better chance to train the people of the future. I’ve had a wonderful experience at South Devon College, everyone’s been very nice and the weather is fantastic, normally I get dissed from Alan [Titchmarsh] for bringing the bad weather. It’s good to see all the young boys and girls training at SkillBuild. I’ve had a look around and the standard of work is very good.”

 Photo 2

School children from all over Torbay were invited to SkillBuild 2016 at South Devon College. Pictured with Tommy Walsh (Centre)

This was the second time South Devon College have hosted the event with hopes it will return for a third year. It has become one of the largest in the SkillBuild calendar. Les Inkpen, SkillBuild Competitions Project Manager said, “this is our second year at South Devon College and it’s got bigger and better. It’s hosting an increasing number of students and we’re hoping that we’re going to get some good ones from it to take to our national. It’s fantastic to be here, especially promoting it in Torbay, as it’s an up and coming area for the building and construction industry.”


There was an electric atmosphere at the College as students and guests visited the construction workshops throughout the day to see their friends and family compete. Among the winners, South Devon College students from both the Paignton campus and Newton Abbot Campus celebrated victories.  In total 2 gold medals, 6 silver medals and 2 bronze medals were won in what was a fantastic achievement for the College and its construction students. The winners included:


  • Gold – Carpentry  (Senior) –  Ricky Collyer
  • Gold – Painting and Decorating  (New Entrant) – Marc Eaton
  • Silver – Brickwork (New Entrant) – Gareth Jones
  • Silver – Carpentry (New entrant) – David Robinson
  • Silver – Painting and Decorating (Senior) –  Karyn Jeavons
  • Silver-  Plastering (New Entrant) – Matt Johnson
  • Silver- Plastering (Senior)-  Chris Elmes
  • Bronze-  Cabinet Making (New Entrant)-  Asa Barnett
  • Bronze- Painting and Decorating (Senior)- Courtney Baker-Edwards

 Photo 3

South Devon College celebrated 9 victories in total for their team.

As well as the many judges assessing the competition, the College welcomed various VIP guests from CITB, Torbay Development Agency, Bournemouth Council, The Sherford Development, Midas, BAM Construction and Building Plymouth. They were treated to a tour of the facilities at the College, before seeing the next generation of tradesmen and women in action as they competed for the coveted bronze, silver and gold medals.


Stephen Criddle, Principal of South Devon College said, “We were delighted to be chosen to host this Regional Heat of the SkillBuild competition, and welcome some of the best talent in the South West to our campus to showcase their skills. We would like to thank the many partners and organisations that supported us on the day and helped make the event such an incredible success from start to finish.


As part of our ongoing commitment to address a skills gap in the construction industry, this was a fantastic opportunity to highlight some of our exceptional learners and their skills, who will no doubt go on to make great contributions in industry. I would like to personally congratulate everyone involved, and wish those competing in regional heats up and down the country the best of luck.”


The event involved a number of students from across the College who were on hand to help. Food was provided by the Catering and Hospitality students.  Students from the Youth Work Practice course acted as mentors for the school children and Travel & Tourism students were happy to act as tour guides for the day.


To find out more about the construction courses the College offers, from apprenticeships to full-time courses or university degrees, visit www.southdevon.ac.uk, call 08000 380 123 or join us for the next Open Event on 17 May 2016, at the Paignton Campus on Long Road, TQ4 7EJ.


Filter by Month

Filter by Category

Help & advice

Choosing to be part of South Devon College doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Let us help you make the right choice with our range of support, advice and guidance.