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Crawley College apprentice wins place at national competition

SkillBuild is a multi-trade competition that brings together construction trainees and apprentices from across the country to compete in their chosen trades.



Crawley College joinery apprentice, Kieran Barnes.

Crawley College joinery apprentice Kieran Barnes has been selected to compete at the UK SkillBuild National Final in Birmingham 15 – 17 November 2018.

Kieran impressed judges earlier this year with his joinery skills at the SkillBuild Regional Qualifiers in Brighton and secured 1st place in senior joinery.

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Tony Manktelow, Wood Trades Lecturer at Crawley College, said: “It was a proud moment to find out Kieran was one of the highest scoring competitors and has now been selected to compete in the UK National Final.”

SkillBuild, a multi-trade competition run by the CITB (Construction Industry Training Board), brings together construction trainees and apprentices from across the country to compete in their chosen trades.

As the level of competition increases, Kieran will have to master the tricks of the trade to win the gold medal in the UK National Final. Kieran said the SkillBuild competitions are “a great way for students and apprentices at Crawley College to learn new skills and build their own confidence”.

When Kieran started studying for his A-Levels he decided it wasn’t for him and took on an Apprenticeship instead giving him the opportunity to work and study.

He said:

“From a young age I wanted to be a joiner. I would spend my time helping my uncle who is a self-employed joiner and since then I decided that I wanted to do the same.

“So I applied for an Apprenticeship at Wood and Wisdom Ltd. and I have now worked there for two years whilst studying Level 3 Joinery at Crawley College every Friday.

“An Apprenticeship is the best route for me because I get paid to train in a professional environment and earn a recognised qualification at the same time.”

Apprenticeships are fast becoming the chosen employment and training route for young people and employers alike, with around 500,000 young people starting an Apprenticeship each year in the UK.

Crawley College offers a wide range of Apprenticeships and is this year celebrating its 60th anniversary. They are inviting former students and staff to share their memories.

Kieran said: “Funnily enough, my uncle started his career as an apprentice at Crawley College nearly 40 years ago! Today I am following the same route as my uncle and one day I hope to become a successful self-employed tradesman like him”.


Crawley College 60th anniversary celebrations continue

On Tuesday 13th November, VIP guests, teachers, governors and business leaders attended a celebratory meal at Crawley College as part of a year of celebrations to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the college.



The college was delighted that several family members of the college’s original principal – Theodore Siklos, were able to attend.

Professor Siklos’ sons Stephen and Paul gave a fascinating profile of their father’s journey from Budapest, where he spoke Hungarian and German, via the University of Brno, now in the Czech Republic, to Wimbledon Technical College and then finally to Crawley where he oversaw the building of the college from nothing more than a building site.

They spoke warmly about their father’s time at the college and brought to life the total transformation that the engineering department has gone through – from an annex on Robinson Road with a single, temperamental computer, to the Advanced Technology Centre which features the latest industry-standard equipment for renewable and sustainable technologies.

Engineering continues to be one of the foundation subjects of the college – no doubt as part of Professor Siklos’s legacy.

The evening started with a drinks reception in the college’s Advanced Technology Centre, and a tour of the college’s engineering facilities, before a delicious meal was served in the college’s newly refurbished restaurant.

The college’s hospitality students designed and created a three-course dinner, based on the original menu served in 1986 when the Siklos building opened. Guests were treated to Waldorf salad, lamb loin, vegetable Wellington and chocolate orange choux pastry for dessert.

Vicki Illingworth, College Principal, commented:

“it was fantastic to see the restaurant buzzing and the students served up really excellent food. Our guests were very complementary about the evening and the journey they could see the college is on – we are very proud that the hard work we are doing is making a difference!”

58 Café Bar and Restaurant is open to the public from Monday to Friday in term time, serving barista-made coffee and homemade cakes all day, as well as a three course express lunch on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Meals are cooked and served by the college’s hospitality students under the expert supervision of our chef-lecturers.

For more information about any aspect of the college, please visit

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