A former stonemasonry apprentice from City of Bath College has shown he is among the best in the business by securing a top spot in a national skills competition.
Steve Lebourn picked up a silver medal when he went head-to-head with the most skilled stonemasons in the country at the Skillbuild national competition.
Winning a medal in one of the industry’s most respected contests is a huge achievement for Steve who returned to college to learn a new trade as an adult learner.
Steve took the plunge and “followed his heart” to study a Level 2 NVQ in Stonemasonry after running his own successful bricklaying business for several years.
Two years ago 27-year-old Steve enrolled on a full-time Level 2 Stonemasonry Diploma at City of Bath College, commuting from his home in Southampton. He then impressed Wells Cathedral Stonemasons during a week’s work experience and the company took him on as an apprentice last year.
Steve triumphed in a series of competitions to make it through to the Skillbuild national final. He earned top honours in a competition at the college’s Construction Skills Centre, then placed second out of 30 masons from across the region in the UK Masonry Skills competition at Moulton College in Northamptonshire.
Stonemasonry lecturer Ray Sumner said: “Steve has followed on his from his successes at the City of Bath College competition and the UK Skills competition to win a silver medal at the National Skillbuild final.
“This was a great success because of the extremely high standards of work of all of the other competitors. It’s a really tough competition and he has only just finished his Level 2 NVQ.
“It shows the high standards of training that the college sets. We are all very proud of Steve.”
City of Bath College also had the opportunity to showcase its innovation and creativity with a stonemasonry ‘have a go’ stand at Skillbuild at the Birmingham NEC from November 13 to 15.
Staff and students were selected to showcase stonemasonry by an education and training sector panel looking for the ‘very best in vocational training.’
The stonemasonry department is no stranger to success as apprentice Chris Berridge beat off competition from around the globe to win a gold medal at the WorldSkills competition in 2011.
Earlier this year, City of Bath College was awarded the prestigious Association of Colleges (AoC) Beacon Award for Practical Teaching and Practical Learning in Stonemasonry.
College Principal Matt Atkinson said: “Once again our stonemasonry team have achieved success, this time with a silver medal being achieved by student Steve Lebourn.
“This is a huge achievement for Steve and the stonemasonry teaching team.”
For more information about apprenticeships or full or part-time courses in stonemasonry at City of Bath College, call 01225 312191 or visit http://www.citybathcoll.ac.uk