Clean Sweep for Northern Regional College Students


Trainees from Northern Regional College’s Newtownabbey campus have beaten off stiff competition to secure the top three spots at the regional semi-finals of SkillWeld 2017. SkillWeld is the UK’s most prestigious, national welder competition. Each year, the top trainee welders from all over the UK are invited to compete in the competition. The first stage is to complete test pieces in their own College and then competitors with the highest score qualify for the regional semi-finals, which this year were held at the Northern Regional College’s Newtownabbey Campus.

The winning candidates were in 1st place James Wroot (Railway Preservation Society); 2nd place, Dylan Creighton (Johnson Sweepers); and 3rd place Thomas Mercer (Cimpina). All three students paid tribute to their welding lecturer, David McLellan who successfully prepared them for event.

Colleges from across Northern Ireland took part in the competition and nine trainees met the semi-final criteria, six from Northern Regional College and three from South West Regional College. All the competitors received ‘goody’ bags from the event sponsors of the event, Airproducts and Codeaweld and a year’s free student membership of The Welding Institute.

Patrick Wallace, Northern Regional College Assistant Head of Department, Engineering & Built Environment and organiser of the semi-finals, explained that the SkillWeld competition is designed to test skills in the three main manual welding processes.

“SkillWeld is a great showcase event for welding skills. There is a shortage of welders across the engineering sector and qualified welders are in high demand.

“The semi-finalists completed four mandatory weld tests and they all the trainees displayed very high level of skills, adapting well to the competitive atmosphere and working well under pressure.

The SkillWeld regional semi-final was supported by a number of local employers, as well as representatives from the NI branch of The Welding Institute.

The judging panel included Clive Slocombe from Codeaweld, Jon Pearsall from Pearsall Training and Consultancy and Stephen Haymes, Skillweld.

Regional semi-finals have been held across the UK since April. When the semi-finals are all completed, the top ten competitors from all over the UK will be invited to compete in the SkillWeld National Final at The Skills Show, NEC Birmingham in November 2017.


Dylan Creighton (2nd place)

Thomas Mercer (3rd place)


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