College student wins south east semi-final of national welding competition

01 July 2016

A talented welder from Horley is one step closer to being crowned the SkillWeld 2016 champion, after scooping pole position at the south east England semi-final heat of the national welding skills competition.

After successfully completing the initial passive heat – where participants had to manufacture and weld a fabrication test piece – trainee welder Sam Waterman, 24, beat off tough competition and won the south east England semi-final, held at Central Sussex College, where Sam is a student. He will go onto the next stage of the competition and be in the running to secure a place in the national final of the UK’s most prestigious national welding competition.

Sam and the semi-finalists were challenged to complete four timed tests, which were marked by the SkillWeld judges who examined the skill level of the participants’ fabrication and welding ability in three different welding processes. SkillWeld will invite the top ten highest scoring competitors from across the country to attend the grand final.

Reacting to the news that he was still in the running to be invited to the national final, Sam said: “I’m thrilled to have won the south east England semi-final of SkillWeld. It’s a fantastic competition to be part of and has provided me with the chance to compete alongside some of the UK’s best welders. I hope to make it through to the grand final, where I can put my skills to the test against finalists from across the UK and hopefully take home the national title.”

“Up and down the country are talented welders who make an important contribution in a challenging manufacturing environment. They’re a great asset to many UK industries and will continue to play an important role as the energy market continues to expand,” commented Kevin Sherry, UK and Ireland Lead Application Specialist at Air Products.

“Having seen firsthand the high-calibre of professionals involved in this regional semi-final, I’m prouder than ever to see the next generation of welders coming through the ranks. Sam in particular showed great skill and I’m sure will go on to be a great competitor in the Skillweld final.”

The top ten competitors from the SkillWeld regional semi-finals will be invited to take part in the SkillWeld national final, which will be held at The Skills Show, at the NEC Birmingham between 17-19 November.

Entrants who have competed in the SkillWeld final may also have the opportunity to progress to a WorldSkills international competition, subject to meeting selection criteria.

The annual SkillWeld competition is aimed at any welder who is currently undergoing training in the welding industry, at an advanced or higher level, and tests their skills in three core welding processes: Manual Metal Arc (MMA), Metal Active Gas (MAG) and Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG). The competition is backed by leaders from across the welding, skills and manufacturing industries, and now forms part of WorldSkills UK.