Motor vehicle students who are studying at Coleg Llandrillo Rhyl’s Centre for Automotive Technology (CAT), recently came away with a silver and two bronze medals at the Skills Competition Wales national finals.

Josh Ellison, 18-years-old from Rhyl, and Rhys Murray, 17, from Denbigh, pitted their skills against four of the best young Vehicle Body Repair students from across the length and breadth of Wales in the Vehicle Finishing (Paint) category, coming away with the silver and bronze medals respectively. Another Rhyl College student, 17-year-old Alex Hughes from Denbigh, won the bronze medal in the Vehicle Body Repair (Body) category.

The six finalists in each category had to tackle a range of different challenges within a set time period during tense finals, which were held at Coleg Gwent’s Newport campus.

Tasks in the Vehicle Finishing competition included: colour matching, polishing out paint defects, repairing a damaged bumper ready for priming, and applying wet on wet and a top coat to a new front wing. Whilst in the Vehicle Body Repair class, finalists were confronted with four tasks: body panel alignment, spot welding, MIG welding, and panel beating. The competitors were then marked on safe working practice, following correct methods and procedures, as well as skills and accuracy.

Skills Competition Wales is a Welsh Government-backed series of events designed to celebrate vocational skills and is part of the global WorldSkills competition.

In a break from his studies this week, Josh said: “I really wasn’t expecting to get a medal as the standard of the competition in the final was extremely high, so I am delighted. There was a lot of pressure on us all during the final, under the watchful eyes of the judges from industry. I am really enjoying my studies at the Rhyl campus, as the equipment we use is of an industry standard and the tutors are so supportive and friendly.”

Tutor Gavin Roberts said: “They all spent additional time training in their own free time and it was great to see them perform to such a high standard. They are dedicated students with lots of talent and I predict a great future for them.”

Skills Competition Wales consists of around 30 skills competitions, funded by the Welsh Government and run by a dedicated network of colleges, work-based learning providers and employer-led organisations.