So you may have seen on social media recently that the SkillWeld Finals 2017 have just taken place, with Code A Weld's Senior Inspector, Clive Slocombe being on the judging panel. The finals are a three-day event in collaboration with Air Products and Lincoln Electric, and is a chance for the young, avid, apprentice welder to show off their skills with their fellow peers.
If you have followed my blog from the beginning (thanks!) you will probably, by now have realised I have no experience whatsoever in welding, so when I first heard about the SkillWeld competition I couldn't quite understand just exactly how you could compete at welding. However, the more I heard about it, the more I came to realise that it isn't just a competition of the best, it's also an event which instils passion and a sense of community amongst the welding profession.
So just how do you compete in the SkillWeld competition?
To take part in the event you need to be a trainee welder already showing a good level of skill across varying weld processes. You will then be invited to register and take part in the passive heats by submitting test pieces for scoring. The highest scorers then move on to the regional semi-finals with the ten best welders competing for first place at the national finals held at the Skills Show, NEC, Birmingham.
So just how did Code A Weld get involved?
Through a very good working relationship with Jon Pearsall, Pearsall Training & Consultancy, Clive was first asked in 2015 to be a member of the judging panel at the regional semi-finals, by also offering an accompanying free welder qualification to BS EN ISO 9606-1. Once the semi-finals were complete, the SkillWeld committee invited Clive to be a judge at the Skills Show, which he has done ever since.
So just what happens during the 3 day finals?
Day One: The competitors need to complete two butt welds in plate, one solid wire MAG root, fill and cap in Flux Core and the other a full MAG in the Vertical Up position. This is followed by a butt weld in pipe in H-L045 with a TIG root and MMA fill and cap.
Day Two & Three: The welders move on to a pressure vessel in Carbon Steel using a mixture of MMA, TIG, MAG and Flux Core, followed by an Aluminium and Stainless Steel structure in TIG.
The evening of Day Three: The winners placed as Bronze, Silver and Gold are announced at the awards ceremony with the welders being able to share in their successes.
Phew, is it just me or does that sound rather intense? With an audience of colleges and students followed by family and friends on the last day, there is a lot of pressure on each competitor to perform as well as they can.
On Clive's arrival to the office the first question I wanted to ask him is what he enjoys most about this event. He did ask me to warn you though, that it's a bit cheesy!
"I feel it's a way of giving something back to the industry. By way of rewarding young apprentices for their dedication and hard work, for a chance to become one of the best welders not only in the UK, but going forwards in the world by representing their country at the World Skills Show level, like Josh Peek did this year at Abu Dhabi"
Well that wasn't too cheesy after all! In all seriousness though, inspiring the future generation, no matter which field, skill, sector or industry that may be, leads to an inspirational future for all.
To learn more about the SkillWeld competition or perhaps you are reading this and are thinking to yourself; I could do that next year, then click here.
I hope you have enjoyed this week's little insight into the competition. We believe, through Clive Slocombe's involvement with SkillWeld, that this is one of the reasons that led to Code A Weld being nominated for a Welding World Award. To read more about our nomination and to cast your vote then please have a read of this blog. On behalf of the whole team, we would really appreciate this.
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Harris Pye Engineering Ltd
Geoff Magaskil, JT Price