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28 November 2017

WorldSkills success for Cardiff and Vale College at the Skills Show

Cardiff and Vale College students are among the very best in the UK following a string of success in the WorldSkills UK finals.

One won a gold medal and two have been chosen to represent Great Britain in WorldSkills Kazan 2018.

More than 450 young people took part in competitions covering 56 different skills from construction to hospitality over three days at the Skills Show in Birmingham in front of thousands of visitors.

Anthony Cox won gold in Personal Trainer contest in Inclusive Skills. Part of the Skills Show, Inclusive Skills is designed to help equip young people with additional learning needs with essential life learning and employability skills for the future.

Anthony, a CAVC Vocational Access student, had to instruct a client who had just started at a gym, demonstrating how to use equipment such as the treadmill and show awareness of health and safety guidelines. He then had a skills test.

“They had a list of gym activities and I had to do them,” Anthony, who is 17 and lives in Cardiff, said. “There was a list of 12 and they said to pick five but I did all 12 – I think that’s how I won it.

“It was really good – it was a good competition. The other competitors were really nice and it was good to meet them. It was a blast and Comicon was next door which was really nice and I got some photos.

“I enjoyed it, to be honest. I was just ready – I’d prepped for three days beforehand and I was just buzzing to get on with it. I was nervous, but you get nervous at every competition. My coach Rich [CAVC Strength and Conditioning Coach Rich Walters] really helped me; he explained everything I had to do so that it made more sense.

“I’m very proud and I like the gold medal – it’s very nice and it’s going to look good on my CV as well.

Anthony, who has played for Pentyrch RFC and now plays for Cardiff Blues U18s, wants to follow in his father’s footsteps as a rugby player.

“I like my rugby and I’m doing pretty well – I’ve got into the Blues,” Anthony explained. “I see being a personal trainer as a backup so I’ve got something to fall back on if my rugby career doesn’t do too well.

“I was basically brought up on rugby from my dad he used to play at county level and he introduced me to Pentyrch. When I joined Cardiff and Vale College [Rugby Academy Director] Martyn Fowler and the other coaches got me in the Blues. Hopefully I will get a contract and carry on playing for the Blues and eventually for Wales – I would love that. I would say that I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for Cardiff and Vale College.

“So I want to follow in my dad’s footsteps but at a higher level – he played at county level and I want to play for Wales. The coaches at College say I stand a good chance because of my height; I’m 6’ 8” and 114 kg and I’m only 17. My coaches say if I eat the right food and keep doing the training I could be 6’ 9” and 19 or 20 stone by the time I’m 20.”

Meanwhile, Connor Lewis won bronze in the WorldSkills Electrical Installation, a competition in which his brother Tom also took part. The 20-year-old twins have been selected for the British squad to go to WorldSkills Kazan 2019. Both Connor and Tom are apprentices with the College and were supported by their employer Blues Electrical.

James Ackland also won bronze for Wall and Floor Tiling while his fellow student Maziyar Pazouki was highly commended. In the Automotive Refinishing category, Cory Maher – an apprentice with Remit - won the Institute of the Motor Industry’s Bonnet Design competition. Cory was supported by his employer Trade Centre Wales.

“I didn’t think I was going to win – you could do literally whatever you liked so I did some basic, easy stripes and won,” Cory said. “I didn’t enjoy it at first – I was petrified! After a while the nerves dropped away and I really got into it, though.

“The Skills Show was great and it was good to meet new people. The hardest part was settling down and getting on with it.”

Every year, CAVC sends its experienced industry expert staff to the Skills Show as judges. This year Automotive lecturers Rich Hutchins, Pete Gibbons, Lee Summerhayes and Ben Young were judges and passed on their experience, helping the College’s students reach the high level required by the Skills Show. Former judges, Head of building Services Kevin Robinson and Wall and Floor Tiling Lecturer Lee Randell plus Deputy Head of Catering, Hospitality and Food Manufacturing Eric Couturier and Head of Independent Living Skills Tom Snelgrove were also on hand to offer student support.