Dunlop Multi-Skills Champion competition 2017

Alex Shows Off His Skills & Impresses Lecturers

A lucky and talented student from East Durham College got the chance to take part in the grand final of a national construction skills competition.

Alex Gatenby, 15, from Peterlee, was selected to represent the college at the recent Dunlop Multi-Skills Champion competition held last week.  

Alex Gatenby
Alex Gatenby

Students from over 15 other colleges from around the country took part, competed against each other in a series of tiling and decorating tests, at the competition’s Grand Final which was held at Dunlop’s Innovation and Technology Centre in Stoke-on-Trent.

Dunlop, a pioneering brand and manufacturer of tile adhesives, grouts, sealants, ancillary tiling products and decorating fillers and smoother products, runs the competition as a way to celebrate and recognise the best multi-skill tiling and decorating students in the country.

Alex, who is currently studying on a City & Guilds Level 1 Basic Construction (Multi-Skills) course, didn’t win but was highly praised for his efforts and the skills he showed during the competition.

His construction lecturer John Murray said: “It would be fair to say that Alex has struggled academically at school. Therefore what an achievement this young man has made during this year in college.”

“Although Alex did not win the event, I was proud to attend with him and witness the efforts which he made throughout it. He performed to the best of his ability and represented the college in an exemplary way.”

Alex joined the college’s Engage (Pre-16) School Referral Service, from Hope Wood Academy in Easington. The Engage referral service offers an alternative provision to young people across County Durham. Schools can refer year 10 and year 11 students to the College on a part-time basis to study vocational options.

Janice Armstrong, a transitional support facilitator at the college said: “We’re over the moon with Alex’s progress this year considering that there were initial concerns that he might not adapt to a further education environment.

“The Engage School Referral offer is dictated by individual needs and interests, as we believe a young person’s best chance of success is infilling into an area that genuinely suits their requirements and feels right for them.

“Alex came to us with very low levels of self-esteem, motivation and expectation of himself and his growth and development in these areas have been tremendous.

“John has been a brilliant lecturer and mentor to Alex, taking the time to support him to adapt into FE education and enjoy the challenges that go with it.

“Well done Alex on representing the college so well at this national competition.”