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Alstom welder scoops gold at final of national competition


Kurt Rodgers, Alstom’s top apprentice welder, has scooped top prize at the prestigious SkillWeld competition after three intense days of competition at the NEC in Birmingham.

Kurt, who is based in Stafford, competed against eight other finalists, including fellow Alstom apprentice welder Steve Clewlow, at the The Skills Show 2013 and now has the chance to represent the UK at the WorldSkills 2015 competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Jim Mcilwrath, Alstom’s Welding Engineering Manager, said: “We’ve had some great success in recent years with our welders in this competition, and this is a back-to-back success story after we also took gold in the 2012 SkillsShow. 

“However, this year’s competition doubled up as the finals for the UK SkillWeld competition which is directly linked to WorldSkills, so the win is extremely important to Alstom. We’re extremely proud of Kurt and Steve’s success which is all down to their dedication towards training and skills which put them in a good position.” 

Kurt, from Doncaster, and Steve, from Birkenhead, are both 19 and attend Newcastle-under-Lyme College one day a week while also working for Alstom at power stations around the country.

There were 112 entrants in this year’s competition, an increase from 77 last year, with welders taking part in regional competitions before moving on to the national competition at the NEC. The competition is open to trainee welders who are in full-time education and training at UK-based companies and who are studying for welding qualifications at colleges around the country.

Alstom opened its world-class welding facility in Stafford in response to increasing demand for welding services and skills. The facility supports more than 350 of Alstom’s UK-based welding apprentices per year, and trains 2,000 industry welders every year, by providing a technical training facility and supporting research and development activities.