More than 100 trainee welders from colleges across the UK will go head to head at competition SkillWeld 2013.
The challenge, run by the SkillWeld committee, is designed to find Britain’s most talented trainee welder and there are 112 entrants to this year’s competition, up from 78 last year.
Entrants include trainee welders currently serving apprenticeships at some of the UK’s leading engineering businesses as well as some promising college students who have yet to find a work-based placement.
Last year’s winner Joe Cosgrove, from Hartlepool Doosan Power Systems, said: “Taking part was very enjoyable and I would definitely recommend it to other young welders. I discovered welding while still at school and decided it was the career for me but at that time I didn’t realise that it was possible to get professional qualifications.”
In the first phase of this year’s competition, all entrants will be asked to fulfil various arc welding tasks, under timed conditions, using a variety of metals and methods and their work will be evaluated by a local welding tutor.
Marking sheets will be submitted to the Skillweld committee for consideration to progress to the next stage of the competition and those that make the shortlist will be entered into a regional semi-final event, with a chance to compete alongside other welders for a place at the national SkillWeld 2013 final.
This year’s final will take place at the WorldSkills UK event at the NEC in Birmingham in November 2013 and the overall winner may be invited to compete in an international welding competition at WorldSkills 2015.
As the lead sponsor of the event, industrial gases and equipment supplier Air Products hopes it will promote best practice and raise welding skills levels throughout the country.
Marketing associate for UK and Ireland Colin Kennedy said: “It is great to see so many welders taking part in this year’s competition. Their interest is indication of the resurgence of interest we are seeing in engineering skills.
“Welding skills represent a gateway to a world of career possibilities in a wide range of industries – from working offshore in the oil and gas industry to precision manufacturing components for the automotive or aerospace industries.”
Christoph Wiesner, chief executive of engineering consultancy TWI Group, which also sponsors the event, said: “Welding forms an essential part in the manufacturing of almost all everyday products. Without joining materials together, almost nothing could be made: from computers to cars and juice cartons to airplanes.
“It is joints and welds that keep our infrastructure working properly: from footbridges to railway lines and power stations. The successful application of welding requires the skills to make the actual weld but also the knowledge of the materials and processes which are used.
“We hope that SkillWeld continues to inspire young welders to reach new levels of excellence in their vital profession.”