Dorset Skills Centre chosen to host UK team training

January 21, 2011




For one week in January, Weymouth College’s Dorset Skills Centre in Poundbury hosted the training for the UK Stonemasonry team for WorldSkills 2011. Alex Boyd, Chris Berridge and Thomas Whitehead had the challenge of re-creating a sculpture from the 2007 WorldSkills event held in Shizuoka, Japan.

The three stonemasons were given all the tools and facilities necessary to complete their challenge, ready for the review from their stone masonry training manager, Kevin Calpin from UKSkills, at the end of the week.

Thomas Whitehead, a second year Apprentice with Weymouth College and Albion Stone, explained how he had found the week: “I think the training has gone really well, taking part has been a really good experience and, without having our training manager here, we have started to discuss problems and find solutions between the three of us. I’m happy with the end result of my work and I would recommend anyone to take part in an experience like this.”

Chris Berridge, 21, explained what the event entailed: “We all have a set of drawings which we turn into templates and then carve the stone to within 1mm of the template; all of us are re-creating the same piece.” Chris completed a three-year Apprenticeship with Bath College and then came to Degree Centre Weymouth to complete the Foundation Degree in Architectural Stonework and Conservation: “College was a good experience and the tutors were very helpful, this training event has given me a lot of belief in what I can do and I’d like to do something like this again.”

Alex Boyd, 20, who completed the NVQ Level 2 and 3 working for Wells Cathedral Stonemasons and attending college in Moulton was selected for the opportunity through a series of mock competitions and heats: “It’s been a challenging, yet really good training event, and it gives us the opportunity to meet new people and improve on our skills because throughout the event we have had the opportunity to work on a lot of specific stonemasonry skills. I’m pleased with what I’ve done, I’ve met a lot of new people and the tools and facilities which we have been using are really good.”

The three stonemasons had space to work in the Centre’s fully-equipped workshop and their non-stop hard work could be seen with the high standard of carving that was produced.

Darren Lawrence, lecturer in stonemasonry at Weymouth College is proud of their facilities: “Our stonemasonry facilities here are considered World class by our industry colleagues and we are proud to offer them to WorldSkills as a training venue.”

Image 1 -Left to Right: Thomas Whitehead, Chris Berridge and Alex Boyd

Image 2 -Left to Right: Thomas Whitehead and Chris Berridge