Five Refrigeration and Air Conditioning students from Eastleigh College recently went head–to-head in competition for a spot at the SkillFridge National Final, taking place at the The Skills Show in November. Success at The Skills Show could even lead to an opportunity to take part in the WorldSkillls UK international competition!
Four Level 2 Apprentices, Jack Culhane, Bayley Mummery, Jake Gorman and David Couch, and Level 3 Apprentice Stephen Taylor, were set tasks such as pipework and brazing tests, as well as testing refrigerant systems for pressure and leaks to industry safety standards.
The students were judged by Mark Forsyth, SkillFridge National Manager; Steven Burge, ex-Eastleigh College student and WorldSkills National team member 2013; Veronika Grozeva, Data team Marketing; Derek Davies from Flame Brazing Services and Kelvin Kelly from Business Edge.
After a whole day’s worth of maintenance challenges and pipe work fabrication, Stephen Taylor, 19 from Havant, was awarded first prize and has officially secured a place at the SkillFridge national competition at The Skills Show in November 2017. He said “It feels good to have won, I put a lot of effort in. I enjoyed doing the pipework the most. There’s lots of things I can work on before The Skills Show, like my brazing and making sure I put caps on condensing units.
“The competition has boosted my confidence. I did it last year as well, and it was really helpful getting tips from the judges, which I’ve now put into practice.”
Commenting on the judging process, Kelvin Kelly, Training Director at Business Edge, said, “We were mainly looking to see that the students could work safely under pressure and follow instructions. I was impressed by the students’ enthusiasm, I could see they enjoyed it and found it a challenge.”
Co-judge Steve Burge, who made the World Skills national team in 2013 and now works at Cosham Refrigeration, gave the following advice to this year’s winner: “It’s not just about practical skill; it’s mental ability and how you overcome problems. Push yourself, and listen to your lecturers and the training managers.
“You learn how to be an engineer at college, but you learn how to be a better engineer through these competitions.”
Eastleigh College is still open during office hours although our main reception and entrance on Chestnut Avenue is closed until 7 September. This is part of our commitment to ensure strict social distancing measures remain in place in all areas. Looking forward to welcoming new learners during Enrolment Week ready for the start of the new term!
In a bid to support the Solent and South Hampshire’s economic recovery in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Eastleigh College has launched an ambitious and collaborative pledge which aims to benefit individuals, employers and communities across the region. The pledge has been developed with support from a numbers of stakeholders including business groups, employers, councils, schools and University of Portsmouth.