TWO former York College students are in the running to join team UK in the WorldSkills competition 2019.

Lewis Greenwood, 21, who went to Tadcaster Grammar, is competing in bricklaying and Kristian Valente, 20, is competing in stonemasonry. They will find out on Monday (March 11) if they will represent their country in Kazan in Russia in August.

Throughout this week - National Apprenticeship Week - York College Construction & Skills Centre has been the venue for the bricklaying and architectural stonemasonry UK team selections.

Known as the ‘Skills Olympics’, the WorldSkills Competition has the world’s best apprentices and students battling to win Gold, Silver and Bronze in their chosen skill.

Rob Holmes, head of construction at the college, said: “The UK is currently tenth in the WorldSkills rankings following its medal success at the last WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi last year.

“There is no doubt that WorldSkills inspires students and apprentices to excel, share best practice and raise standards in a wide variety of skill areas. It is a huge privilege for the college to train individuals to the highest standard and enable them to showcase their expertise, and to host the final stage selection in brickwork and stonemasonry.

“For current and prospective students or apprentices the competition is truly inspirational, it demonstrates how high quality training, coupled with hard work, can bring about a wonderful career in the construction industry.”

Lewis is the last man standing in the brickwork competition and Kristian will compete alongside two other UK stonemasons; Ethan Conlon (Bath College) and Owen Gallimore (Weymouth College).

International competitors and their Experts from Russia and Italy competed at York College in their final preparations for the Worldskills Competition.

Previously, Lewis and Kristian won regional heats and have attended training sessions to be assessed by industry experts, they have won at national level and are down to the last stage of selection.

Lewis works for PDS Construction in Wetherby, completed his bricklaying apprenticeship in 2017.

Kristian Valente, from Holmfirth, is employed by Mono Masonry in Oldham, completed his stonemasonry apprenticeship last year.

Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann OBE, chief executive, WorldSkills UK, which manages the UK’s entry into the WorldSkills Competition said: “York College offers state of the art facilities to select the UK’s top apprentices and students to compete on the world stage. Working with training providers like York College and businesses throughout the UK, we can transfer the insights gained from competing against other countries into the wider economy, driving up training standards in the UK to world-class levels, boosting productivity.”

Team UK for WorldSkills Kazan 2019 will be announced officially on Monday, March 11 2019.