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Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Talented students show off their skills in competitions

CONSTRUCTION students from across Cumbria went head-to-head in competitions in their specialist fields.

The Cumbria Colleges construction challenge was hosted at Furness College, in Barrow, on Friday and included learners from Furness College, Kendal College, Lakes College West Cumbria and Carlisle College.

The county’s talented craft trainees displayed their skills in the areas of plastering, carpentry and joinery, brickwork and painting and decorating in the timed tests.

The events were staged in the construction workshops within the state-of-the-art CopperBox building.

The challenges were designed and developed by lecturers in the Furness College construction department.

In plastering the students were tasked with running plaster moulding and fixing them to the walls they had skimmed.

Karen Fowler, of Dalton, is a Level Two plastering diploma student at Furness College.

Mrs Fowler, 48, started the course last year after enjoying a plastering evening class.

The mother-of-three, who had previously worked in secretarial roles, fancied a change of direction once two of her children had grown up. Last year Mrs Fowler and her 20-year-old daughter, Danielle Fowler,were both students at the college, with Miss Fowler then studying brickwork.

Mrs Fowler, who was pleased with how her plastering performed on the day, said: “I really enjoyed the evening plastering class, but I was not sure if I should do it full-time. But when I came to the college they were fantastic, they were really encouraging. I really enjoy decorative plastering.”

Joinery and carpentry students were asked to build a frame using different joints of timber.

Brandon Williamson is a Kendal College Level One joinery and carpentry diploma student.

The 19-year-old, who lives in Kendal, said: “It’s going better than what I thought it would. Events like these are good for my skills and my CV. It shows where you are compared with other students.

“The new college building is nice. It seems to have everything.”

In brickwork students created a small decorative wall with a decorative panel.

Daniel Lord, 22, who is a Level Three brickwork diploma student at Lakes College West Cumbria, in Workington, said: “It’s been a good challenge, it’s going good.”

Painting and decorating students were tested on their emulsioning and creating a stencil image of the Furness College logo.

Mary Gray, 19, a Level One painting and decorating diploma student of Carlisle College, said: “It’s a really good challenge, I’m a bit competitive so I like it. The new college is very nice.”

Brian Bibby, Furness College’s construction curriculum manager, said: “The event is a Cumbria Colleges collaboration challenge. For the students it gives the trade that they are studying more meaning, and it gives them the chance to see how they compare against other students.

“We hope it may encourage the students to enter the SkillsBuild competitions. There has been a good standard of work on show. For some of the learners this is their first year in training.

“Hopefully it will give them aspiration to progress.”

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