An apprentice at Stoke on Trent College has made it through to the national final of a prestigious bricklaying competition.

Jake Newbold-Shankland, 21, who is an apprentice with Bloor Homes, took first place in the Guild of Bricklayers West Midlands Regional Competition in Birmingham.

He will now compete for the overall prize at the national final in Derby on 21st June.

Jake, who is based at Bloor Homes’ Brooklands development in Stoke, saw off competition from eight fellow apprentices during a six-hour bricklaying contest.

He said: “It was a great feeling to win the regional competition and I’m very excited about going forward to the national final, where the competition will undoubtedly be tough.

“Competitions like this are very mentally and physically demanding so I’m thrilled to have done so well.

“I’m really enjoying my apprenticeship with Bloor Homes. I feel like I have learned so much and I can’t wait to progress my career and maybe one day become a site manager.”

Jake’s victory follows the success of fellow Bloor Homes apprentice Kieran Allen, who finished third in a bricklaying competition held at Stoke on Trent college.

Kieran, 22, who is also based at the Brooklands development, said: “All of the students performed really well, but I felt prepared enough to meet the criteria and I’m pleased with third place.

“My whole apprenticeship has been really beneficial and I’ve learnt a huge amount from my colleagues at work and by participating in events like this. It’s always good to test yourself and see how your skills and attention to detail compare to others.”

Rob Harrison, lecturer at Stoke on Trent College said: “I am very proud of both students. Competitions such as these prepare them for a demanding future in the construction industry. It gives them the skills they need, being good at reading drawings. They also require a lot of stamina as working for 6 hours with just a 30-minute break is demanding both physically and mentally. Both students take a pride in the quality of their work which is key to producing accurate and clean brickwork.”

Andy Ward, Construction Director at Bloor Homes North West, said: “We are immensely proud of Jake and Kieran. These achievements are a just reward for the hard work and dedication they have shown during their three years as apprentices with us.

“Our apprenticeship scheme provides a fantastic opportunity for talented, hard-working and enthusiastic young people to learn the skills and qualities they will need to enjoy a successful career in the housebuilding industry, and it’s great that Jake and Kieran have grabbed that opportunity with both hands.

“Competitions like this play an extremely important role in our apprentices’ development and we wish Jake all the best for the national final in June.”

Jake Newbold Shankland will also be representing the College in the regional skillbuild competitions starting in May from which winners can progress to the national final in November and potentially the World Skills International Competitions.

For more information about career opportunities with Bloor Homes, visit www.bloorhomes.com.

Stoke on Trent College – offering the widest range of courses and pathways for students in the construction industry, so that they can gain all the skills they need – either across a range of skills, or in depth in one area