A PLUMBING and heating apprentice from Kendal College has been selected to represent the UK at the WorldSkills Finals in Russia.

Matthew Barton, 19, from Kendal, was selected for the Team UK squad after winning a bronze award at the WorldSkills UK Finals at Birmingham’s NEC last month.

He, along with students from other colleges across the UK, competed in an intensive three-day practical competition to showcase their plumbing skills.

Matthew had to install a small central heating system and a hot/cold water installation in a strict timeframe in a pressurised competition environment.

“I really enjoyed my Worldskills experience," he said. "It was a fantastic way for me to demonstrate my skills and I am more than happy to receive bronze.”

The WorldSkills UK Finals are part of The Skills Show - the nation’s largest skills and careers event. The 2017 show attracted a record number of visitors with almost 80,000 people turning out to see the talented young tradesmen and women.

John Ladell, plumbing lecturer at Kendal College, said: “This is an outstanding achievement for our relatively small construction department to have students competing at the highest level. Our staff thrive to produce the highest quality tradesmen and women and Matthew’s success proves again how Kendal College continues to punch above its weight. We all want to congratulate Matthew and wish him good luck in the final stages of the selection process.”

Also taking home a bronze award for the college in the digital video production competition were the four-strong team of film production students, Kelcey Bamber, Jake McKenna, Elizabeth Morley and Rhys Rawcliffe.

College principal Graham Wilkinson said: “In the past four years our students have won 12 gold, four silver and 15 bronze medals at WorldSkills events. I applaud all of those students who have engaged with this worldwide skills event as it really does help them to raise their game and increases their aspirations for the future.”

This year, almost 500 talented young people took part in competitions covering 55 different disciplines to be named ‘best of the best’ in the UK at their chosen skill.

The 2019 WorldSkills finals will take place in Kazan, Russia, in August 2019 and will bring together students from more than 70 countries from all corners of the globe. For more information, visit https://www.worldskills.org.