When Shadow Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change met UK champion apprentice welder, Kurt Rodgers, she got a surprise to find he is from Conisbrough. Caroline met Kurt when she visited Alstom’s site in Stafford recently.
Kurt, Alstom’s top apprentice welder, has scooped top prize at the prestigious SkillWeld competition after three intense days of competition at the NEC in Birmingham.
Kurt competed against 112 entrants, including 8 other finalists at the Skills Show 2013 and now has the chance to represent the UK at the WorldSkills 2015 competition in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Said Caroline: “I’ve always said skills could take a young person a long way, but from Conisbrough to Brazil is an amazing journey for a 19 year old. The fact that Kurt is such a skillful welder is great credit to him and to how seriously Alstom take their apprenticeship programme. Kurt is working for a world-beating firm and he could become a world-beating welder.
Jim Mcilwrath, Alstom’s Welding Engineering Manager, said: “We’ve had some great success in recent years with our welders in this competition, and this is a back-to-back success story after we also took gold in the 2012 Skills Show.
“We’re extremely proud of Kurt’s success which is all down to his dedication towards training and skills which puts him in a good position.”
Kurt attends Newcastle-under-Lyme College one day a week while also working for Alstom at power stations around the country.
The competition is open to trainee welders who are in full-time education and training at UK-based companies and who are studying for welding qualifications at colleges around the country.
Caroline said: “I’ve no doubt that Alstom has a world-class welding facility in Stafford, and they are responding to increasing demand for welding services and skills. The facility supports more than 350 of Alstom’s UK-based welding apprentices per year, and trains 2,000 industry welders every year by providing a technical training facility and supporting research and development activities. This firm is at the forefront of state of the art manufacturing for the energy industry, they are a huge export asset to UK plc.
“Firms like Alstom need to know that Government has a very clear direction about the future of energy so they can continue to invest and grow and ensure we have the energy infrastructure our country needs.”