GWENT apprentices Callum Hughes and Alex Smart, from leading electrical controls systems firm Industrial Automation and Control, battled it out against the UK’s most talented apprentices and learners in the finals of the WorldSkills UK National Competitions.

Callum and Alex, both 20, are third-year electrical apprentices and represented IAC Ltd, which is based at Queensway Meadows, Newport, at highly-rated competition in the Industrial Control Section.

The pair, who won bronze in their section, have now both been selected to compete in the UK Worldskills National squad.

Callum said: “The training for the competition and the WorldSkills championship was full on but very enjoyable and I’m very proud of what we've achieved.

Alex said: “We were able to put the skills we’ve learned as apprentices here at IAC to the test in the competition and I'm pleased to be able to say that we did very well against very strong competition. It’s a real bonus that we've been selected for the UK WorldSkills national squad.”

Peter Lewis, managing director of IAC, said: “Callum and Alex are both very talented apprentices and excellent examples of the kind of apprentice engineers that we consistently produce here in Newport.

“We’re very proud of what they achieved at Worldskills and to be able to say that the pair have been included in the UK Worldskills squad. Callum and Alex will now have the opportunity of representing the country and IAC at the world competition in 2019.”

Mr Lewis said IAC, a multi award winning company, are committed to supporting apprenticeships. The established Newport firm currently has nine apprentices in its workforce and normally recruit two every year.

The highlight of The Skills Show is the WorldSkills UK National Competition Finals which take place in 70 skills ranging from Floristry to Mechanical Engineering. During the three days of The Skills Show, 800 of the country’s most talented apprentices and learners compete in front of 100,000 visitors to be named the ‘best’ in their skill in the UK.

WorldSkills UK Competitions inspire young people and adults to be ambitious in their pursuit of skills to the highest level. Entering the competitions is proven to catapult a person’s career. Taking part enables competitors to build on their skills, test their knowledge against their peers in industry and showcase their potential to employers.