Supporting future talent at the EKC Group Built Environment skills competition!
Date: February 2023
Held at the Folkestone College campus on Wednesday 25th January, learners from across the Broadstairs, Canterbury and Folkestone Colleges gathered together to compete across three trade disciplines in Brick, Site Carpentry, and Painting and Decorating. Managing tight deadlines and showcasing advanced techniques in completing their assigned tasks they battled it out to impress the judges – a mix of lecturers and staff as well as external stakeholders who included representatives from both Jenner and Park Farm Construction.
Returning to his former College, Jenner Assistant Site Manager Ash Smith volunteered as a judge, and as a former competitor in the very same competition was able to impart first-hand knowledge and advice to the students. Ash commented: “Having done it myself, I judged the finished products based on accuracy, speed and the standard at which they operated. You can tell a lot just by the way they work and their workspace, and it was easy to see that they had really got to grips with the fundamentals and principles of Carpentry. They’re helping each other which is excellent and exactly what happens on a real site; it’s an example of how this competition works well to simulate a real working environment. Whether or not they win doesn’t matter, I’m just proud of them for stepping up and taking on the challenge. The skills learnt here serve them massively in their future careers, and it’s excellent to see so much talent in one room.”
Joining Ash as a judge was Operations Director of Park Farm Construction Tony Collins who stepped in to score both the bricklaying and painting and decorating competitions. Having previously worked as a tradesman himself Tony recognises the skills and attributes needed for success and was incredibly keen to be involved with the competition and impart his invaluable advice. After the day he commented: “I loved being involved in such a positive event hosted by the College to nurture and enhance future talent, which is exactly what our industry needs. I was highly impressed by the attitude and aptitude of all the students, they were brilliant. At Park Farm Construction we employ many multi-trade operatives and I would welcome many of them to work in my team in the future”.
The final awards were handed out by EKC Group’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Lucy McLeod and the top three from each category go on to the finals of the county-wide competition to be held at the Canterbury College campus in March.