Richard Keatman, an Alstom welding apprentice, has won the BOC English Apprentice Welder 2011 title after completing a challenging series of welding tasks at Alstom’s state of the art engineering facility in Stafford.
Eleven finalists from across England came to Alstom’s welding centre to compete for the trophy on 6-7 July.
Alstom opened its world-class welding facility in Stafford in 2009 as part of its commitment to improve welding skills in British industry. That was also the motivation behind BOC’s decision to establish the Apprentice Welder competition, so the centre was an ideal venue for this year’s event. BOC, a member of The Linde Group, is the UK’s largest supplier of industrial and welding gases.
Richard, 21, was delighted to take the title at this year’s event. “Welding runs in the family; both my dad and granddad are welders as well”, he said. “I started welding when I was 17 and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do as a career.”
Mike Dennis, Business Director for BOC’s Bulk and Packaged Gases, said: “The UK has to promote and encourage these key engineering skills if we are to maintain our presence as a leading engineering and manufacturing economy. That is why BOC believes this competition to be so important for the future. Over the three years the competition has been running we have seen increasing interest in welding across the UK, a trend we firmly expect to continue.”
Stephen Burgin, Alstom’s UK Country President and Head of Power, commented: “I would like to congratulate all the contestants who have demonstrated that the UK is taking the lead in developing expert skills, which are of vital importance to the engineering industry. Alstom is strongly committed to skills development and the training of highly skilled employees, continually investing in our dedicated training schools that play a continue to play a key role in shaping young talent across the UK.”
Richard will now compete for Alstom in the UK National Finals of the BOC Apprentice Welding Competition due to be held at The Welding Institute, where he will take on the top competitors from England, Wales and Scotland.