Star Refrigeration apprentice reaches WorldSkills UK National Final

  • Sam Gills

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James Ward

Operation Director

Newcastle-based industrial refrigeration apprentice Sam Gills reached WorldSkills UK National Final competition after becoming a finalist at the National skill competition, Skillfridge. One of six apprentices competing for top national prize at the November event, Sam won Student of the Year at ACR Industry Awards in 2017.

Star Refrigeration’s third year industrial refrigeration apprentice, Sam Gills has topped national rankings at the national skills competition Skillfridge, and as a result qualified for WorldSkills UK National Final. The competition is set to take place from15th -17th November 2018 at the NEC Arena in Birmingham.

While taking part in a number of regional heats throughout the summer at Skillfridge, Sam outperformed scores of all other contestants to find himself amongst the top six in the country. During the heats, the engineers were asked to display competence in assembling and tightening pipework containing both brass and copper fittings. Under a strict time limit, the participants had to identify and repair and electrical fault in a refrigeration unit, as well as fixing leaks, testing for strength and charging, commissioning and evacuating the system. 

With all entrants holding their own against the competition, Sam came out amongst the top performers. He will now proceed to the WorldSkills UK National Finals, which will recognise the highest scoring refrigeration, air conditioning and heating apprentices across the UK. The winner will represent the UK at international level in future WorldSkills events.

It’s not the first time that Sam’s skills have been recognised. Just last year Sam was crowned ACR Trainee of the Year at an awards ceremony in Sutton Coldfield. At the time, Sam had just achieved distinction in his BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Engineering and his industriousness, eagerness to learn and committed work ethic has seen him go from strength to strength ever since.

Sam said, “It’s been a whirlwind year for me, to be honest. After gaining a distinction in my studies and receiving the Trainee of the Year award last December, things just haven’t slowed down. I’m honoured to be representing Star at the WorldSkills competition and hope I can do myself and my company proud again”.

But regardless of the result of the final next month, Sam’s training manager believes he has already achieved that particular goal. Dave Bartlett, Star Refrigeration Operations Training Manager, said, “I couldn’t be more proud of Sam and his achievements, and of all our apprentices and trainees here at Star. We have received a crop of incredibly talented engineers over recent years and all of them have been put through our national training scheme which is producing so many award-winning engineers”.

Star Refrigeration Operations Director, James Ward, said, “We are delighted with the exceptional job that Sam has done during the regional heats allowing him to qualify and successfully secure a place in the Worldskills UK Finals. Our apprentices’ world-class skills are being recognised throughout the industry’s competitions which are set to drive up technical skills. This acknowledgement validates Star’s training standards and confirms our commitment to put individual career development at the top of the priority list.”

“We wish Sam all the best over what promises to be an interesting few days of competition in Birmingham and look forward to supporting him throughout the event”.

For more information on Star’s Apprenticeship Scheme, visit /apprenticeships.aspx