UK: Chris Bailie, winner of last year’s SkillFridge Gold Medal, has been selected to represent the UK at the WorldSkills championships in São Paulo next year.
An apprentice with Belfast-based BL Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, Chris has been selected for Squad UK to compete for a place in the refrigeration and air conditioning section of the WorldSkills championships, being held in São Paulo next year.
The biennial Worldskills competition draws more than 1,000 young people from more than 60 countries to compete for medals in 40 different professional trades.
Chris will spend the next 10 months preparing for the final selection, which takes place in May 2015. From the initial 100 members of Squad UK, an elite group of 37 apprentices will be chosen to represent Great Britain in WorldSkills in Brazil next August.
“It is a huge honour and privilege to represent the industry,” said Chris. “I have had tremendous support from my employers and trainers, they have backed me to the hilt. It goes without saying that I will do my very best at every stage.”
BL Refrigeration and Air Conditioning was established in 1977 as a small-scale service and maintenance provider but has since grown to become one of the leading design contractors in Northern Ireland, employing more than 40 people. The majority of the company’s work is in NI but the company also carries out contracts in other parts of the UK and occasionally abroad.
The company has developed a strong and successful partnership with Toshiba Air Conditioning , and helped pioneer the introduction of the manufacturer’s market-leading VRF and related technology in Northern Ireland.
In addition to formal college training at Northern Ireland’s South Eastern Regional College, Chris and fellow BL apprentices are given a solid grounding in applied technology through attendance on Toshiba-organised air conditioning courses.
Keith Elliot, BL’s technical director, said: “We are hugely proud of Chris and his achievement. Chris has already brought the glow of gold home to us here in Belfast. It goes without saying that we will be supporting him in every way we can over the coming months, to give him the very best chance of success in the WorldSkills finals.”
WorldSkills 2015 takes place on 11-16 August, in São Paul, Brazil.