8 Jan 2018 | Aeroventic
Industry bright sparks raise the standards at the national final

The 2017 SkillFRIDGE cycle reached its pinnacle at The Skills Show from 16-18 November. A selection of the UK’s top apprentices studying up to Level 3 RACHP qualified for the national SkillFRIDGE final during a series of regional heats. Unfortunately Chandler Davison was unable to participate due to injury, leaving Jonathon Lansdowne, Orlando Rawlings, Gary McGaughey, Stephen Taylor, Jack Culhane, Conor Green and Luke Courtney to compete to be crowned SkillFRIDGE champion. Under the watchful eye of a judging panel comprised of industry experts, the seven finalists were tasked with completing a number of challenges testing their pipework, brazing, electrical and commissioning skills.

All of this year’s competitors deserve credit for their participation in what has been a hotly contested series, as noted by judge Keith Nichols: “All of the competitors were at a very, very good level, so we were really pleased.”

The organisers of SkillFRIDGE are now delighted to reveal the medal-winners:

Gold Medal
Jack Culhane | Gelidus AC | Eastleigh College

Silver Medal
Gary McGaughey | Harry Dunlop Refrigeration | SERC

Bronze Medal
Orlando Rawlings | Daikin UK | Grimsby College

Highly Commended
Jonathon Lansdowne | Technical Retail Services | Glasgow College

SkillFRIDGE gold medal winner Jack Culhane comments on his win: “I’m so happy to have won, because it makes all of the time and effort I’ve put in training and learning at college and work worth it. It’s been a great opportunity to demonstrate my skills, and now I have a big achievement to show for it.”

Jack continues: “I was up against some strong competition; there were so many people that entered to compete in SkillFRIDGE so to be crowned as the gold medal winner was amazing. I think it’s a great thing to have on my CV which will hopefully open doors for me going forward in my career. I’d definitely say to others considering the competition to give it a go!”
Whilst they were all competing for the accolade of SkillFRIDGE champion, all of the apprentices noted that they have gained valuable experience, knowledge and confidence through participating.

Silver medal winner Orlando Rawlings, Daikin UK, comments on what he has learnt through the competition: “I know what the standard of a good engineer is now and it’s been a good challenge.”

Highly commended Jonathon Lansdowne, Technical Retail Services, says: “It’s a challenging competition, but if you can handle that challenge it’s a great chance to get yourself out there. It’s helped me with problem-solving and time management.”

The positive feedback from participants confirms that SkillFRIDGE competition series is serving its purpose of helping young engineers fulfil their potential and upholding vital industry standards. Mark Forsyth, SkillFRIDGE project manager, comments: “We strive to develop these people, not just in terms of their skills, but also their work ethic. It’s something that they can take away and use to develop their emotional intelligence and solve the problems they’re faced with in the industry.”

Looking to the future

After an incredibly successful cycle, preparations are already underway for a refreshed series in 2018. SkillFRIDGE Competition Operating Partner (COP) Manager Karena Cooper says: “The SkillFRIDGE competition series is growing at an incredibly rapid pace. The level of our competitors is improving year on year, and we’ve got some exciting things in store for the next cycle to move in line with our changing industry.”

More information regarding the next cycle will be announced in due course. To avoid disappointment, companies that wish to show their support for the future of the industry and align themselves with the very best are encouraged to secure their position as a sponsor early.

For more information on the sponsorship opportunities that are available, contact Karena Cooper on 01622 699 150 or at kcooper@datateam.co.uk.

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