Mature learner Haralds Jonans (36) won a gold medal in the senior plastering category and apprentice Jordan Richards (20) came second in the senior bricklaying category of the regional Skillbuild - held recently at Vision West Notts College in Mansfield.
Both now need to wait to see if the points they were awarded by the judges are enough to earn them a place in the Worldskills Finals which will be held in Birmingham this November. Haralds Jonans, who is originally from Latvia, is one of more than 20 deaf learners who attend Derby College – supported by signers in the workshop and in lessons. He and his young family have been in the UK for six years and moved to Derby four years ago. Having had various temporary jobs, he returned to Derby College to train to be a plasterer and finishes his course this summer – hoping to secure a job in the construction industry. He said: "I was very shocked to get first place in the competition. It was a complicated technical task using fibrous plaster to mould patterns but I was pleased with the standard of my work. "I hope to make it to the national competition but getting this recognition is very satisfying."
Jordan Richards, from Awsworth is a former Construction learner at the College's Ilkeston campus before securing an apprenticeship with GF Tomlinson – working on site and returning to College on day release.
He said: "I enjoy competitions and represented the College in the junior competition last year. I was pleased with what I achieved on the day and hope that the points I was awarded are enough to take me to the national finals."
Derby College Head of Construction Tracey Hutchinson concluded: "We are extremely proud of both Haralds and Jordan who have demonstrated their skill and commitment to this competition. "Both produced very high standards of work and were up against some very tough competition. "Derby College has an excellent track record in the Skillbuild and World Skills competition and a former apprentice Zack Lysaczenko is currently training with the UK Squad for a potential place at the WorldSkills finals in Abu Dhabi in 2017. "We hope that these two learners will be on course to follow in his footsteps and champion the skills they have gained here in Derby on the national and international competition stage."