SRC Success at SkillBuild NI Final

Southern Regional College students have won an incredible twelve medals at the SkillBuild NI Finals 2023 held by The Construction Industry Training Board NI (CITB NI).  The SkillBuild competition is held annually each spring with top local construction apprentices competing to win titles in the categories; Brickwork, Cabinet Making, Carpentry, Electrical Installation, Joinery, Painting & Decorating, Plastering Dry Wall Systems, Plastering, Plumbing, Wall & Floor Tiling.

Successful construction competitors at the regional qualifiers will move forward to represent Northern Ireland in the SkillBuild UK national final which, for the first time, will take place at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on 21, 22 & 23 November 2023.  Successful participants in the areas of Plumbing, Electrical and Fire winners may get the opportunity progress on to the UK Finals of SkillPLUMB and SkillELECTRIC also held in November.

The competition is designed to test skills, technique, ability within tight timeframes, and identifies the top performers in 11 different trade areas within construction apprenticeship programmes from across Northern Ireland. It is a showcase of the wealth of talent, professionalism, and the brightest recruits throughout the industry.  Competition test pieces are designed to challenge the ability of competitors to follow detailed instructions, produce accurate and neat work outputs, be economical with materials while working to strict timescales – all essential requirements needed for today’s construction industry.

Southern Regional College are delighted with the success of students.

Students placing at the competition from the Newry Mourne Down area, picking up the top spot include Niall Rice from Castlewellan (Brickwork); Joshua McBride from Kilkeel (Plastering) and Conor Braniff from Portaferry (Wall and Floor Tiling).  Conor is also Northern Ireland Apprentice of the Year, having received this accolade in March. 

Other successful students at the competition include Charlie Hutton from Downpatrick who picked up third place in Brickwork and Matthew Connolly from Newry, also receiving a well-deserved third place in Plastering.

Students placing at the competition from the local Banbridge area include Matthew Carswell from Gilford who picked up second place in Bricklaying.  Other well deserving students completing at the competition include bricklaying students Kyle McAvoy (Katesbridge) and Ronan Greenan (Annaclone), alongside Banbridge Wall & Floor Tiling student Sam Johnston and Carpentry student Frank Finley from Rathfriland.

Students placing at the competition from the local Portadown/Lurgan area include Scott Buchanan from Donaghcloney who snagged third place in the Painting and Decorating category and Jake Richardson from Scarva, who competed in the Cabinet Making category winning third place also.  Other local well deserving students include Richard Loughran from Magheralin (Painting and Decorating).

Students placing at the competition from the local Armagh area include Jacqui Hawthorne from Keady who topped the leaderboard in Painting and Decorating.  Fellow students Conor McDonnell from Armagh came second in Electrical Installation, with student Jake Richardson from Scarva obtaining third place in Cabinet Making.

Barry Neilson, Chief Executive CITB NI, said:
“A huge congratulations to all the apprentices who took part in the annual SkillBuild NI 2023 competitions. There was an incredible amount of talent on display.  It was great to see the enthusiasm and commitment from a new generation of construction industry leaders – the future of the industry is looking very bright! 

Apprentices at all levels are a vital component to helping the construction industry develop and grow. Offering young people apprenticeships gives businesses the chance to play an active role in developing their future workforce as well as creating the future skills that they need to help their businesses develop.”

Brian Doran, Principal & CEO of Southern Regional College further commented:“I extend my congratulations to the SRC students who excelled at the SkillBuild NI Finals by winning 12 medals and maintaining our position as the best performing College in Northern Ireland.  I am immensely proud of all our students, for the commitment and dedication shown to get to this stage and for embracing the challenges of the NI Skill Build competition.  I look forward to hearing of their continued success as they move onwards to the National Finals in November