After more than 1,000 registrations and 17 regional heats, the top construction trainees from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been named as competitors at the SkillBuild National Final 2023.

SkillBuild is delivered by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) and showcases some of the brightest talent in construction. The prestigious competition brings together highly skilled learners and apprentices to battle it out to be crowned winner of their chosen trade. Following the regional heats, which took place this summer, the final will see the top eight highest scoring competitors from each category compete.

For the first time, this year’s final will be held at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes, England on 21, 22 & 23 November 2023. The arena has previously played host to the National Badminton Championships, major darts tournaments and various music concerts, and will now see 80 of the best construction trainees demonstrate their expertise.

Across the three days competitors will be tasked with constructing a project designed by an expert panel of judges, within an 18-hour timeframe. The project will test the individual’s knowledge and skills, as well as their ability to work under pressure, ensuring they adhere to health and safety protocols.

Members of the public are invited to attend the competition to both observe and try their hand at a range of activities at the designated careers experience hub, the Construction Showcase. Visitors can test their hand-eye coordination skills at the decorating station, build their own bird box at the woodworking station, or even get involved with virtual reality games and simulators. There will also be an opportunity for visitors to attend Continual Professional Development sessions, which will be hosted by the expert panel of judges across all 10 trade categories.

CITB’s latest Construction Skills Network (CSN) report states that almost 225,000 extra workers will be required to meet UK construction demand by 2027. It also highlights that construction is expected to remain a sector where there is demand for workers, despite the current economic uncertainty. SkillBuild is a fantastic opportunity to alter common misconceptions of the industry and promote the diverse range of roles available.

Mike Burdett, SkillBuild bricklaying judge, said: “The competition is a fantastic way for young people to showcase their skills and talents, it never ceases to amaze me the commitment and dedication they show to their craft.

“As a judge we are looking to find the best of the best, testing their knowledge and skill levels through the test project. Every millimetre of inaccuracy costs the competitors points, but this is also set against a time pressure, making it even more challenging for them. Not only do they need to be accurate, but they also need to plan and review their work constantly to meet the demanding deadlines.”

Tim Balcon, CITB Chief Executive, said: “I’m delighted to be hosting this year’s SkillBuild National Final at the Marshall Arena, providing us with the opportunity to invite members of the public to observe the incredible talent coming through to industry. SkillBuild is a wonderful initiative which aims to attract a diverse range of recruits, and with the current skills gap, it places even greater importance on the competition and its ability to promote construction careers to a wider audience.

“SkillBuild not only helps young people to grow personally, increasing their confidence and social skills, but it’s also proven to assist them professionally by developing their technical and employability skills. While a challenging experience, if you’re serious about a career in construction, SkillBuild is an excellent opportunity. I wish all our National Finalists the best of luck, and we look forward to seeing you in November!”

CITB would like to thank all the fantastic sponsors of this year’s SkillBuild, which include: British Gypsum, Crown Paints, BAL Adhesives, NFRC, TARMAC, SPAX, Schluter, Weber, The Tile Association, Nicobond, Stabila, The Keystone Group, Forterra, tesa, Tilgear, Permavent, SR Timber, BMI Redland, Stone Restoration Services, Midland Lead, Hambleside Danelaw, NSITG, Rollins Group, Albion Stone, and Felder Group.

See the full list of finalists on Go Construct, and visit the Eventbrite page to get tickets to attend SkillBuild.