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Success for local apprentices in BOC National welding final

posted on July 16, 2012 categories In The Community

Two Cammell Laird apprentices scooped both runners up places in one of the country’s toughest engineering competitions.

Jake O’Rourke, aged 20 from Bromborough and Ben Birch, aged 22 from Oxton beat off stiff competition to land two of the top three places against 12 other finalists from ten other colleges. The competition was held at the Birkenhead based Maritime and Engineering College North West (MECNW) where Jake and Ben both study. The two are currently being put through MECNW by Cammell Laird, which has more than 80 apprentices.

Competing welders from across England were required to complete a series of complex welding challenges. By the end of the event, Michael Folberth of South Nottingham College emerged as the overall winner.

In a presentation to the winners, John Drummond, Project Director of Cammell Laird Shipbuilders, noted how important welding is to the future of British manufacturing. “In the coming years, the UK is planning a number of major engineering projects, from the construction of new aircraft carriers and destroyers to railway lines and new power stations. All of these will need skilled welders to help build them. So I’m particularly pleased to see the high standard of workmanship evident in this competition.”

Jim Teasdale, Chief Executive of Mersey Maritime Group, which hosted the event and runs MECNW, said that the college was extremely proud to have held the final.

“It was a real honour to host the national final of the BOC apprentice welding competition,” said Mr Teasdale. “The training facilities here at the college were perfectly suited to the task and we hope that the event gave local employers operating in the engineering and maritime sectors a chance to see our facilities at their best. MECNW can help employers ensure their workforce is fully skilled and qualified by offering the best training programmes available.”

In addition to welding, MECNW offers apprenticeships in over 20 different skills areas with 15 of these directly related to the engineering sector. A further five programmes focus on business support for the maritime and engineering sectors in areas such as customer service, international trade, logistics and management.

Mr Teasdale stressed that the education sector has a huge role to play in the future of engineering.

“Engineers can design great projects, but to translate them into reality, this country needs the welders and other skilled professionals that can build the machines and structures. The Further Education sector is delivering the training that these talented young people need in order to take their places in tomorrow’s economy.”

BOC, a member of the Linde Group, supplies industrial and gases and engineering solutions across the UK. Stuart Hudson, Head of Industrial Supplies and Services at BOC, commented: “Within the company we have a saying that individuals ‘make the difference between good and excellent’. We are delighted to see so many young people committed to achieving excellence in their chosen careers.”