Plastering apprentice Sam Dean has won the gold medal at the national finals of WorldSkills UK.

Sam, who has nearly completed his Level 2 Apprenticeship with the College while working with IB Plastering, has since gained full time employment with the Eccleston based company.

The former St Edmund Arrowsmith Catholic High School pupil won his North West regional heat after impressing judges with his technical ability, and was one of just 6 competitors to reach the final.

Sam Dean

“I didn't except to win but I guess the judges thought I was the best on the day. It was a good experience, especially to see all the other trades and to see what they were doing. The company I work for said they were proud of me and commented on how well I had done,” said Sam.

The plasterer, from Ashton-in-Makerfield had three modules to do in a set amount of time while judges would come around and look at the finalist’s work.

“We had to showcase a bit of everything from running moulds, floating and skimming to beading up, coving and using casting plaster moulds,” added Sam.

Sam was encouraged by his tutor to take part in the competition because of his high skill level shown throughout the second year of his apprenticeship.

Plastering Lecturer, Michael Simm said: “We are thrilled that Sam has achieved such a prestigious award for his plastering skills. He was up against tough competition from apprentices nationwide and has clearly shown the judges his highly developed precision skills. Well done Sam!"

In a normal year, Sam’s gold medal performance would have meant he would have been selected to represent the Great Britain team at the WorldSkills final, due to take place next year in Shanghai, China.

Gold Medal logo

However, due to the covid pandemic, the UK team were already in place for this and have been getting coached for the last 18 months from the previous national final.

But it does mean Sam will get the opportunity to compete again in next year’s national finals for a place in the GB team for the 2024 WorldSkills finals in France.

The 19-year-old also highlighted the benefits of being an apprentice and how it was the right decision for him.

"I liked learning new things and when I went out on my own jobs I could see how the skills I had learned in College could be applied. I learned a lot on-site doing the work, and having certain scenarios that you can't replicate in a classroom is good for learning too. I also enjoyed being paid at the same time."
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