Joinery student carves out place in national final

Joinery student carves out place in national final

10th September 2013


A JOINER is carving a niche for himself as one of the country’s best craftsmen after winning his way through to the final of a prestigious skills competition.

Darlington College apprentice Tom Tennant is honing his techniques before taking part in the national final of SkillBuild, an annual contest designed to attract new blood into the construction industry.

The 21-year-old Level 3 joiner, who works for Richmond builder Randall Orchard, has already won the regional heat of the contest, staged in Durham, and was the only contestant to actually complete the joinery task.

National competitors will meet in Birmingham in November for a three-day trial of their joinery skills. Winners could then be selected to represent Great Britain in the WorldSkills final due to be staged in Rio in 2014.

Tom will be joined in the national finals by Darlington College Level 3 apprentice bricklayer Sam Hayes, who works for builder Peter Fisher in his home town of Middleton-in-Teesdale.

Tom, of Gayles, between Richmond and Barnard Castle, attributes is competitive edge to his motorcycling. A regular competitor in the world famous Scott Trials, he also plans to turn his attention to competitive enduro racing.

“I have always been competitive in whatever I do and I really want to win SkillBuild,” he said. “The nationals will be much more complicated as it is over three days and you have no idea what you will be making.

“The college has been great and Randall Orchard are letting me go there an extra day a week and have bought me some new tools to give be the best chance of success.

“I was really flattered when the CITB representative put my name forward to compete and I am putting in loads of practice. It would boost my confidence if I won and I would be proud to have the title on my CV.”

His Darlington College tutor Kevin Ewing added: “He will be up against the best 14 tradesmen in the country but he has produced some very high quality work and has the right mindset to win.

“We expect both students to perform well in the competition and in their careers which are looking brighter than ever now that the construction industry has really taken off again and is looking for skilled tradesmen.”

For more information on opportunities at Darlington College contact (01325) 503030 or log on to

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