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Success for Wirral apprentices in national welding final
WELDING apprentices from Wirral took both runners-up places in one of the country’s toughest competitions.
Jake O’Rourke, 20, from Bromborough and Ben Birch, 22, from Oxton, took on 12 finalists from ten other colleges in the BOC national final and landed two of the top three places. Michael Folberth of South Nottingham College emerged as the overall winner.
The competition was held at the Birkenhead based Maritime and Engineering College North West (MECNW), where Jake and Ben study. They are being put through MECNW by Cammell Laird, which has more than 80 apprentices.
In his presentation to the winners, John Drummond, project director for Cammell Laird, said: “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, said: “It was a real honour to host the national final of the BOC apprentice welding competition.
“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.”
Mr Teasdale stressed that the education sector has a huge role to play in the future of engineering.
He said: “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.”