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Crawley College apprentices win top prizes at UK’s largest construction skills competition

Three apprentices from Crawley College won first and second places at the SkillBuild South East Regional Qualifiers competition on Tuesday 26 June at Brighton MET, showcasing their skills in carpentry and joinery.



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.

Apprentices Kieran Barnes, Alex Gillies and Joshua Lewis won 1st place in senior joinery, 1st place in senior carpentry and 2nd place in senior carpentry respectively.

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Principal Vicki Illingworth said:

“Our carpentry and joinery apprentices performed amazingly well at the SkillBuild competition. Kieran, Alex and Joshua worked hard in the heat and their determination and commitment paid off”.

Each apprentice had six hours to plan, design and build their construction project to industry standards. Kieran made a 2 panel door with a tapered side incorporating different joints, while Alex and Joshua both constructed a hipped end roof with all angles produced by plane or saw.

Tony Manktelow, Wood Trades Lecturer at Crawley College, said:

“It was a proud moment to watch our apprentices work really hard. They were the only ones to finish the task within the allotted time!”

Kieran, Alex and Joshua were awarded with certificates, medals and a smoothing plane each. If they receive enough points in the competition, they may be selected to represent their region in the UK National Final.

Crawley College is one of the largest providers of trade and construction courses in the region, with many students taking on apprenticeships or progressing to University. For more information about courses and apprenticeships at Crawley College visit:

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Council launches webpage to support Crawley and Sussex children going back to school



A new webpage has been created to prepare and support West Sussex children to go back or start school with confidence.

Full of key information and content, the Back to School resource on the West Sussex County Council website is designed to give children and their families everything they need for returning in September.

It features a video recorded by West Sussex pupils who went back to school last term, speaking about some of the changes to help reassure children who have been away from school for some time about what they can expect.

Information is provided on:

• Returning to school in a ‘bubble’
• Exam results
• Mealtime arrangements
• Support with emotional wellbeing and for children with additional needs
• Family summer activities 
• Travelling to school

West Sussex County Council shares the government’s ambition for every school-age child to be back from the start of the new academic year. The coronavirus restrictions since March 20 mean that the majority of the county’s near 115,000 school-age children won’t have been in school for nearly six months when they go back – so it’s crucial they feel ready, supported and confident to return along with their parents and carers.

Nigel Jupp, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said:

“We share the desire for all school-age children to get back to school safely, especially after so many missed out on much of their valuable education during the school lockdown restrictions.

“Our Education Team continues to support school staff and governors in their meticulous preparation and risk assessments ahead of September. It’s so important that every child and young person feels ready and confident about returning, and for families to be assured that all the necessary safety measures are being put in place.

“As well as speaking to their school about the individual changes being made, I really hope families find this new webpage a useful tool to use together.”

Throughout the pandemic, West Sussex schools remained open for children of key workers and those who are vulnerable, and welcomed additional pupils back from June 1. The county’s attendance figures was significantly higher than the national average, with nearly 22% of pupils attending school towards the end of the summer term, compared to the national average of 16.9%.* 

This was made possible by the dedication and cooperation of school leaders in following the national health guidance on keeping staff and pupils safe, while also supporting their parents and carers who were home-schooling.

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