Joinery student is in the frame to take on the world's best

Joinery student is in the frame to take on the world's best

25th November 2013


A JOINERY apprentice is hoping his national success will open doors for him to compete on the world stage.

Darlington College CITB apprentice Tom Tennant swept away the opposition at the challenging WorldSkills and UK SkillBuild event, staged over four days in Birmingham, to become the only construction gold medal winner from the North East.

The 20-year-old is now waiting to see whether he can be selected for the GB team at the next WorldSkills event or whether he will be excluded on account of his age.

Tom, a Level 3 joiner, had to overcome ‘goldfish bowl conditions’ working on a complicated wooden window frame in view of tens of thousands of visitors to the event.

“The number of people walking by was amazing,” said Tom of Gayles, between Richmond and Barnard Castle. “Loads of children kept asking me what I was doing but we were weren’t allowed to talk and had to ignore them, which I felt bad about.”

The very best competitors from all over the country, selected through regional heats, were given a design and 19 hours to complete a curved window frame.

Tom finished the tasks with four hours to spare and his craftsmanship, to tolerances of less than 0.5mm, was more than enough to win gold.

“It was a great experience and I really wanted to win it,” said Tom, who works for Richmond developers Randall Orchard. “The college, my tutors and my boss Graham Newton have been incredibly supportive so I am thrilled to pay them back with a win.”

His tutor Kevin Ewen said the success was down to Tom’s talent, commitment and hard work. He said: “He really has put the hours in perfecting his techniques and has taken on board everything we suggested. He had the right mindset and passion to win and we are thrilled it has paid off.”

Head of construction Garry Potts added: “This is the fourth gold medal won by our students over the years in this extremely prestigious arena. We are very proud of Tom’s achievement and it is also testament to the quality of teaching that students receive at Darlington College.”

Level 3 apprentice bricklayer Sam Hayes, who works for builder Peter Fisher in his home town of Middleton-in-Teesdale, also won through to the construction final but finished just outside the medals, in an annual contest designed to attract new blood into the construction industry.

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