Young welders from across England converged on Birkenhead on Thursday 12 July to compete for this year’s BOC English Apprentice Welder title.
The event, held at the Maritime and Engineering College North West, required each of them to complete a series of complex welding processes. At the end of the afternoon, Michael Folberth from South Nottingham College emerged as the overall winner.
The two runners up both came from MECNW, the college hosting the event. All three now go forward to contest the UK finals in October.
Presenting Michael (22) with his prize, John Drummond, Project Director of Cammell Laird Shipbuilders, noted how important welding is to the future of British manufacturing. “In the coming years, the UK is planning a number of major engineering projects, from the construction of new aircraft carriers and destroyers to railway lines and new power stations. All of these will need skilled welders to help build them. So I’m particularly pleased to see the high standard of workmanship evident in this competition.”
BOC, a member of the Linde Group, supplies industrial and gases and engineering solutions across the UK. Stuart Hudson, Head of Industrial Supplies and Services at BOC, commented: “Within the company we have a saying that individuals ‘make the difference between good and excellent’. We are delighted to see so many young people committed to achieving excellence in their chosen careers.”
Jim Teasdale, Chief Executive of Mersey Maritime Group, MECNW’s parent company, stressed the part that the education sector has to play in the future of engineering. “Engineers can design great projects but to translate them into reality this country needs the welders and other skilled professionals that can build the machines and structures. The Further Education sector is delivering the training that these talented young people need in order to take their places in tomorrow’s economy.”