West London College plastering apprentice, Joshua Lovell, is off to compete at WorldSkills UK from 14 – 18 November at Edinburgh College. Joshua emerged as one of the highest scorers at the CITB SkillBuild one-day competition held at Bristol College in June. This earned him the right to the prestigious challenge north of the border. In Scotland, Joshua will battle it out over three days, 15 – 17 November, with the best young plasterers in the country to demonstrate the skills he has.
Joshua has worked for Woodlands Commercial Ltd for the last six years. For the first two years, he worked as a labourer when one day quite by chance he was assigned to work assisting a plasterer. From that point on he has never looked back, and on picking up his hawk – the flat board plasterers keep their plaster on – and trowel, discovered his true passion in life.
Joshua says: “I first learned everything I knew about the trade from someone with over 40 years of experience and I became a really good plasterer. When I started my apprenticeship, I found out there was much more to know.”
Ever since then, Joshua has been avidly watching YouTube to keep up with all the latest trends in construction, as do most builders he says, as well as talking and sharing information with others on site.
Joshua knew a lot about solid plastering from his job with Woodlands, but it was when he came to West London College as an apprentice that he discovered he still had a lot to learn. Especially when it came to fibrous plastering, which is the more decorative kind of plastering often seen in older houses.
Joshua says: “The influence of new-build properties, often using drylining, means that construction has moved away from the more ornate forms of plastering – but I will need to prove I can do this to a high standard to succeed at WorldSkills.”
At the SkillBuild contest, Joshua completed his task with literally 5 seconds to spare. He had just six hours to skim a board with plaster, float out the bottom part ready for plaster and mark out and add his moulded work. At WorldSkills the tasks will be more difficult. His tutor, Leslie Lewis, has given him the past exam tasks to practice so that he can fully prepare for the forthcoming contest.
Joshua anticipates that he will need to create a frame, dryline a wall and float and set another, cutting out a piece where a door would go. He also has to complete some monocouche render, something he has never done before, and complete another plaster mould.
Looking forward to WorldSkills Joshua says: ”It is fantastic to take part and right now I am concentrating on preparing so that I don’t make any mistakes, I don’t misunderstand any part of the tasks and that I create some work that I am proud of.”
Joshua’s tutor Leslie Lewis says: “Taking part in two national competitions is great for Joshua’s self-esteem and will be a fantastic addition to his CV. Clients will be impressed and it will open up doors for him to get him to where he wants to be, which is running his own business.”
In the long term, Joshua wants to set up in business as an independent trader and ultimately run his own company, employing other tradespeople.