The Weld Off – British Style Phil Winnington Throws down The Welding Gauntlet

Phil Winnington, Managing Director of Morris Site Machinery, has a mission – to make The Weld Off 2016 bigger, and better than ever before. He took some time out of a busy schedule at the Executive Hire Show to talk to ToolBUSINESS+HIRE to tell us more about the competition.

The Weld Off is now in its third year, and its profile, along with that of UK Welding continues to grow. This year Morris Site Machinery, Speedy Services, EAL and KEMPPI will sponsor the competition aimed at young welders throughout the country.  Phil believes that this is the type of competition that will inspire the next generation of welders, a profession that has slowed down in recent times. As Phil says ‘You want real life things to aim for within colleges, so to get young welders involved in something which was targeted, has enabled us to introduce ourselves to the industry at grassroots level.’

After the initial comprehensive assessment of largely college-based applicants, the judges choose the four teams to compete in the final at the Speedy Services base in Tamworth on May 11th 2016. Like the Great British Bake Off, knowledge, skills and creativity are tested in full on the day of the final via a rigorous process. It begins with a questionnaire establishing the teams’ knowledge of welding practices and design, amongst other skills, as well as the all important Health and Safety regulations. Two members of the team are then chosen to compete in an extended skills test during which they have to demonstrate full familiarity with a variety of welding techniques.  Finally, the whole team has to cooperate to design and make a big piece – this year’s theme is “God Save the Queen” to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday. Also, the Sex Pistols made the charts with their version of the national anthem 40 years ago, so this could add a different slant to the theme. The chance of potentially witnessing Punk Welding is a notion I find very intriguing!

The previous two competitions have given a real indication of potential diversity and progress being made by young people within the sector.  Phil spoke highly of the collaborative nature of the competition, ”If you are putting a team together for a design piece, so you may need one or two be the lead creative, and then two more with strong hands on skills. It is important to have all four working alongside each other as a cohesive team.” The first year’s winners also included a young woman, which is a real step for the future of welding and engineering in general.

Phil went on to explain that Morris Site Machinery would like to expand the scope of the Weld Off in the future. This would ideally involve regional finals so that more students would have the opportunity to enter the competition and be more  “hands-on”, with the strongest candidates heading for the finals.

From Phil’s words and indeed all those involved with the Weld Off, it is clear they are keen to raise the profile of welding as a key skill in the British industrial landscape. The competition will help further this aim; introducing a skill that could provide both young and older men and women with an exciting career that has good prospects for the future.

ToolBUSINESS+HIRE will be in Tamworth at the finals of the 2016 finals, which take place on May 11th, so watch out for full coverage of the event in the June Issue. After speaking to Phil, I for one am very much looking forward to checking it out.

If you would be interested in getting involved with the Weld Off 2016, or future events, please contact the Morris Marketing Department on 01743 234 224 or email [email protected]

Welding Show News Executive Hire Peter Brett
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