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Britain's got talent - with a world class plumber to prove it

Twenty-two year-old Christopher Lonsdale from County Durham was awarded a medallion for excellence in plumbing and heating for impressing judges at the Calgary 2009 Worldskillls competition.
Although Britain's young talent did not get gold, silver or bronze in this category, the self-employed plumber from Bishop Auckland did walk away with an award for scoring at least 500 points, which is deemed the world class standard.

Britain did win gold in electrical installations thanks to the talented Richard Sager (aged 22) from Langholm who works for Eden Electrics. Sager was one of 900 skilled people from around the globe competing in the biennial WorldSkills competition in Calgary over four days.

Richard Sager takes gold for electrical installations

Sager trained hard for 18 months for his golden moment, putting his social lives on hold to perfect his skill.

This year the UK won three gold and six bronze medal wins at the largest skills based competition in the world. In total 46 nations took part. Britain has a good track record at the WorldSkills Competition, and was 11th in the world at the last event, held in Japan in 2007. The UK team are now waiting to find out where they rank for 2009.

In total 26 young people from Britain ( all aged under 25) competed in skills events ranging from painting and decorating to floristry and autobody repair.

Simon Bartley, chief executive of UK Skills, which manages Team UK said 'What Team UK has achieved is outstanding. It's a tremendous result not just for the competitors, but for their employers, trainers and colleges. We hope to build on this success as we move towards the next WorldSkills Competition, which London will be hosting in 2011, where we hope to do even better. We are extremely proud of each and every one of them and can say that they are amongst the best in the world at their chosen skill'.

Skills Minister Kevin Brennan, said: 'The world class skills this team have demonstrated are vital to the future success of our economy in key industries such as construction, manufacturing and engineering. It's more important than ever that we continue to support and invest in the skills of our workforce, helping individuals get into and stay on at work as well as helping businesses stay competitive and prepare for the upturn.'
9 September 2009


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