18 year old Josh Procter was ranked second in the country in the Construction Metalwork Competition at the UK Skills Show held in the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. He shook off competition from seven other competitors to scoop a Silver medal.
Alongside him, 19 year old Mike Cormish took on six other apprentices in the Metal Sheetwork discipline. Although he narrowly missed out on receiving a medal, Mike was awarded ‘most improved’ by the judges.
Josh and Mike qualified to represent BAE Systems in the UK Skills show final after beating rivals during regional heats earlier this year. Two other steelwork apprentices from Maritime-Submarines, Tom Richardson and Bradley Pearce, qualified for the final but were unfortunately unable to attend.
Second year apprentice, Josh Procter, said: “I went to the competition not expecting anything other than to do my best. I would have liked to have brought home the gold medal but I’m pretty happy with silver!
“It was a really worthwhile experience. I found the crowds of people watching a bit strange – I didn’t like the attention.
“I have to work to exact tolerances in my daily work so the competition standards weren’t new to me, but I learnt that I can work to tight deadlines.”
Mike Cormish said: “I didn’t do as much training as I’d have liked so I was nervous travelling down to the competition but when I settled in and got in the zone I was ok.
“I was working in isolation for the two and a half days that my competition ran for. I managed the bending and rolling ok – but I struggled with the welding on the first day. When I got familiar with the new equipment then away I went.
“I went down to Birmingham to push myself and represent the company - and feel I did just that.”
Dave Keenan is a Senior Trainer at BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines and accompanied Mike and Josh to the competition. He said: “We are extremely proud of how both apprentices performed.
“Notching up some of the best scores in the UK during the preliminary heats and then again during the final is no easy feat. In addition to the pressures of the competition, there were over 100,000 visitors at the show who were all able to stop and watch them at work. So they definitely felt the pressure!
“Each competition lasted seven hours and the apprentices were required to work in isolation. They had to manage their time carefully, get to grips with new equipment and all under the watchful eye of assessors and the general public.
“The quality of the work that Josh and Mike produced is fantastic. The specialist skills, determination and pride they were able to demonstrate really did BAE Systems and Barrow proud.”