Lewis Clelland of Babcock, Rosyth has been crowned as the top welder in the 2012 ESAB Shipweld competition for shipyard apprentices that concluded recently with the grand final held at BAE Systems in Portsmouth. Jack Thompson of Babcock, Appledore was named as the runner-up and the shipyard welding team award went to Babcock, Rosyth.
Ten finalists battled it out in Portsmouth, undertaking three different challenging welding tasks to test their all-round skills in a format that provided a chance for apprentices to engage in competitive welding. Winner Lewis Clelland says: “It was a great competition and I was surprised to win. The standard of all the contestants’ test pieces looked really high. Participating in this kind of competition can open doors in our future careers and I’ll certainly be encouraging other apprentices at Rosyth to enter Shipweld 2013.”
Sean Donaldson, Director and General Manager, Warship Programmes at Babcock says: “This has been another challenging competition for all the apprentices involved in the Shipweld competition. I am extremely proud of the Babcock representatives who have taken part and been successful in applying the skills and experience they have to secure awards as individuals and as a team. There is always a vast array of talent on display at Shipweld and it’s great to see the apprentices work very hard to compete against each other but also have a bit of fun and enjoy meeting their counterparts from other parts of the country”.
The ESAB Shipweld competition is now in its fourth year. This year apprentices from BAE Systems of Barrow-in-Furness, BAE Systems Naval Ships, BAE Systems Maritime Services, Babcock, Appledore and Babcock, Rosyth took part. There were originally approximately 120 entrants fighting it out for the ESAB Challenge Cup. To ensure no-one had a competitive advantage, all the finalists used identical ESAB Origo Mig 4001i welding machines with Aristo Feed 3004w U6 wire feed units and PSF 405 torches. They also used OK Tubrod 15.14 wire and Vodex 3.2mm electrodes. All the test pieces were judged blind.
According to judge Tony Johnson, ESAB Technical Information Officer and one of the ShipWeld judges, the competition plays a very important role at a time when it is generally felt there is a ‘skills shortage’ in UK manufacturing industry. He says: “Welding is a very skilled industry and is a critical process in UK engineering. From shipbuilding and jet engines to nuclear reactors and general fabrication, welding plays a key role. ESAB is delighted to support the shipbuilding industry and be involved in a competition that does so much to publicise the importance of welding and encourage the next generation of skilled welders.”
Tony Tomasso, Training Centre Principal and Simon Loyns, Production Director and General Manager, BAE Systems Portsmouth both spoke on behalf the company at the presentation. Simon notes: “All the Shipweld competitors are winners. They have come through welding apprenticeship schemes in their own shipyards and developed their skills. The Shipweld competition helps them to launch their careers in shipbuilding, a highly skilled industry that is the backbone of our industrial heritage.”
According to judge John Pearsall of Pearsall Training: “All the competitors deserve admiration for putting themselves under such scrutiny. They achieved very high, consistent welding standards, demonstrating that the shipyards’ training programmes are developing the welding standards and techniques that will be required in the future.”
ESAB’s UK Sales Manager, Richard Craig together with Publicity Manager Cheron Robinson made presentations to the Shipweld 2012 winners. The event concluded with Dave Knight, BAE Systems Barrow-in-Furness, accepting the invitation to be the host shipyard for the 2013 Shipweld final.
For more information about Shipweld, visit www.esab.co.uk.