Star Refrigeration apprentice Sam Gills, who was crowned ACR Trainee of the Year in 2017, is one of six people contesting the national final at WorldSkills UK LIVE, starting tomorrow the NEC in Birmingham.
Following the regional SkillFRIDGE heats during the summer, the top six apprentices qualified for the national final, with Sam now lining up alongside Chandler Davison of Thermocold (trainer Bath College), Kevin Ballantine of TKB air Conditioning (Bath College), Thomas Thompson of Refrigeration Lindum (Grimsby Institute), Dominic Dray of Royale Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (Eastleigh College) and Edward David of Dunbia Foods (Cardiff and Vale College).
During the heats, the engineers were asked to display competence in assembling and tightening pipework containing both brass and copper fittings. Under a strict time limit, the participants had to identify and repair and electrical fault in a refrigeration unit, as well as fixing leaks, testing for strength and charging, commissioning and evacuating the system.
Sam, who is based in Newcastle, said, “It’s been a whirlwind year for me, to be honest. After gaining a distinction in my studies and receiving the Trainee of the Year award last December, things just haven’t slowed down. I’m honoured to be representing Star at the WorldSkills competition and hope I can do myself and my company proud again.''
Dave Bartlett, Star Refrigeration operations training manager, said: “I couldn’t be more proud of Sam and his achievements, and of all our apprentices and trainees here at Star. We have received a crop of incredibly talented engineers over recent years and all of them have been put through our national training scheme which is producing so many award-winning engineers.''
Star Refrigeration operations director James Ward said, “We are delighted with the exceptional job that Sam has done during the regional heats allowing him to qualify and successfully secure a place in the WorldSkills UK finals. Our apprentices’ world-class skills are being recognised throughout the industry’s competitions which are set to drive up technical skills. This acknowledgement validates Star’s training standards and confirms our commitment to put individual career development at the top of the priority list.”
Find out more about the Star apprenticeship scheme.