Leading international construction materials company Saint-Gobain has announced its sponsorship of the WorldSkills London 2011 competition, highlighting its ongoing commitment to industry training and development. The competition, in which young people compete to be named the best at their chosen skill, is held every two years in locations around the world, with WorldSkills London 2011 taking place from 5 – 8 October 2011 at ExCeL.
Saint-Gobain’s sponsorship of the 2011 competition sees several of its UK companies providing support for construction related skills contests. Plaster and plasterboard solutions manufacturer British Gypsum, Presenting Sponsor of the Plastering & Drywall Systems competition, has stepped in to support the two drylining and plastering competitors in Squad UK following the withdrawal of funding for this category and is investing over £50,000 in training for the team. In addition Weber, manufacturer of facades, construction mortars, flooring systems and tile fixings, is an official supplier to the Wall & Floor Tiling contest and International Timber, the UK’s largest distributor of timber, is an official supplier to the Joinery, Carpentry and Cabinetmaking competitions.
In preparation for WorldSkills London 2011, Saint-Gobain invited the two competitors representing the UK in the drylining and plastering category to showcase their skills in Saint-Gobain’s Renew Zone at Ecobuild. They participated in live demonstrations on the stand to show the installation of a British Gypsum plasterboard solution for upgrading the insulation of internal solid walls.
Jamie Fineran, an apprentice from British Gypsum’s Drywall Academy at Kirkby Thore and employee of GT Contracts in Newcastle, and Ben Billows, an apprentice from New College Nottingham and employee of Rapide Drylining Ltd, are both undergoing training with British Gypsum in preparation for the next stage of the competition. Their participation in the Renew Zone at Ecobuild enabled them to put their skills to the test in front of a live audience ahead of the Team UK selection, which takes place in June.
Lisa Benbow, head of communications for Saint-Gobain UK, Ireland and South Africa, comments: “Saint-Gobain is committed to ensuring the industry is equipped with the skills and knowledge required to deliver more sustainable solutions. The WorldSkills International competition enables us to support the development of young people in construction while promoting the career opportunities available in this sector.”
WorldSkills competitor Jamie Fineran comments: “It is great to have the backing of British Gypsum and Saint-Gobain. Their training has helped me improve my skills and the opportunity to demonstrate what I have learnt in front of a crowd at Ecobuild was good preparation for the WorldSkills final.”
In addition to supporting WorldSkills London 2011, Saint-Gobain is also preparing to launch the first of a national network of Technical Academies which will showcase its capabilities to provide cross-brand solutions focusing on a range of construction types and needs. When up and running, the facilities will provide customers around the country with convenient access to training and expertise.
The launch of the Technical Academies further reinforces Saint-Gobain’s commitment to addressing the skills shortage in the UK. It builds upon its existing offer which includes a number of company-specific training facilities across the UK, a purpose-built Technical Academy in Ireland covering the Gyproc, Isover, Weber, Saint-Gobain PAM and Ecophon brands and a Greenworks Training Academy in Birmingham dedicated to showcasing the sustainable product solutions and renewable technologies available from Jewson and its sister brands Graham, Minster and Pasquill.
For further information regarding Saint-Gobain and its UK companies please visit www.saint-gobain.co.uk.