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Apprentice bricklayer scoops top title

A teenage apprentice bricklayer has beaten off competition from across the UK to scoop the top prize at the national finals of the Guild of Bricklayers Competition.

Louis Wilkinson achieved the gold award in the senior heat at the finals of the competition held at Cardiff Construction Centre in Wales, beating 11 other challengers to take the title. The 19-year-old, who is in the second year of his trades training course, qualified after winning this year’s southern regional contest.

Louis, from Seaford in East Sussex, told The Argus: “On the day it was really tense. I was up against a lot of good bricklayers from all over the country, who were all good enough to have won. I did feel a bit nervous beforehand but I just thought I’d give it all I’ve got and see how I got on. I’m pleased I did.”

The competition’s final took place over six hours. Finalists had to interpret, lay out and then carry out the brickwork on a piece of work based on plans put together by the judges. Louis’s winning piece showed off his talents by using curved, staggered and basket weave panel brickwork.

Melanie Hunt, the head teacher and chief executive at Sussex Downs College in Eastbourne, where Louis studies, said his achievement showed the importance of trades apprenticeships.

“Louis is a fantastic example of the benefits of further education; the strong links with employers, the development of high level technical skills and the encouragement of individual drive, initiative and determination,” said Ms Hunt.

His course leader Kevin Diett added: “By winning the national finals of the Guild of Bricklayers Competition, it just goes to show the really high standard that Louis is already at. He’s done us really proud and we look forward to seeing what he’ll do next.”