Pipefitter inspired to gold by dad’s death inspires apprentices

Pictured: Oliver Bolland of MG Engineering in Flint, is the reigning Gold Medalist in the Sheet Metal category of WorldSkills UK

Submitted by Martin Williams

A pipefitter and former pupil of Coleg Cambria Deeside was inspired to victory by the death of his father and is now supporting teenage apprentices on their way to success.

Oliver Bolland is the reigning WorldSkills UK sheet metal gold medalist, having won bronze in the same event three years earlier.

The 22-year-old – a former fabrication and welding student at Coleg Cambria Deeside – now works at MG Engineering in Flint, hopes apprentices Owen Fricker and James Jones can emulate his success on their WorldSkills journey in years to come .

Also a former winner of the Construction Metalwork competition at Skills Competition Wales, Oliver is helping the Flintshire duo, both college students, as they start competing in hopes of making their WorldSkills UK team this fall.

Oliver at work at MG Engineering in Flint

Admitting his father’s passing hit him hard on his 2019 debut in the finals, former high school student Richard Gwyn is enjoying life and looking forward to a bright future with the company, which provides solutions engineering to several sectors for 30 years. years.

“It’s great to see Owen and James starting their training for the skills competitions, I’m sure they’ll do very well,” said Oliver, of Connah’s Quay.

“After winning the Welsh Skills competition, my performance at WorldSkills was affected by dad’s death, and I always hoped I would get another chance, to do myself justice.

“Then COVID-19 hit the UK and I thought that opportunity was lost; Being able to compete again in 2021 was a big surprise, and I was thrilled to win gold for my family.

He added: “It’s an intense situation as the finals take place over three days and you can get caught up in that pressured environment, but I managed to relax and get on with the task at hand.

“If you can stay calm and almost forget about the judges, do your job and stay focused, you can be successful, which I managed to do.”

Thanking Cambria and in particular speaker Tony Commins for his role in helping him secure internships and eventually a full-time position in the industry, Oliver said:

“I owe Tony a lot, he believed in me and now I’m here doing a job I love – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

“Demand has increased and I have traveled all over the world during the pandemic, adapting the products we manufacture in the United States, Canada, Germany and Finland, as this is a critical area in which we operate. .

“Now my goal is to support other apprentices and use everything I learned at Cambria and in competition to continue to improve as part of the team here. I will always fondly remember the memories. of WorldSkills and I will encourage other young people to give it a try.”

Oliver with apprentices Owen Fricker and James Jones

Owen, 17, from Caerwys, and James, 16, from Bagillt, are also keen to sharpen their skills.

According to Tony, they have the ability to go far.

“Like Oliver, they have positive attitudes and want to learn, which is key to doing well in these competitions and academically,” he added.

“Oliver is a huge inspiration to them and to many of our learners as he has shown that if you put your mind to it and work hard you can do anything.

“We are all so proud of his accomplishments and wish him well for the future.”

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