Deeside pipefitter forming net generation
A Deeside pipe fitter, inspired to victory by the death of his father, supports teenage apprentices on their WorldSkills journey.
Connah’s Quay’s Oliver Bolland is the reigning WorldSkills UK sheet metal gold medalist, having won bronze in the same event three years earlier.
Now working at MG Engineering in Flint, the 22-year-old – a former fabrication and welding student at Coleg Cambria Deeside – hopes apprentices Owen Fricker, 17, from Caerwys, and James Jones, 16, from Bagillt, can emulate his success.
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.
Admitting his father’s passing hit him hard on his 2019 Finals debut, former high school student Richard Gwyn is enjoying life and looking forward to a bright future with the company.
Oliver said: “It’s great to see Owen and James starting their training for the skills competitions, I’m sure they will do very well.
“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 added: “I owe Tony a lot, he believed in me and now I’m here doing a job that 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 in Cambria and in competition to continue to improve within the team here.”