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Osian targets WorldSkills success in engineering first

Osian Roberts will be the first apprentice to represent Coleg Menai in engineering at the WorldSkills UK national final this month

Osian Roberts will compete at the WorldSkills UK national final as the first engineering apprentice to represent Coleg Menai at this stage of the prestigious competition.

The 23-year-old from Caernarfon, a third-year apprentice with manufacturing firm IAQ, is studying for a Higher National Certificate in General Engineering.

He will compete in the CNC turning category at Tameside College in Manchester this month, after finishing in the top five in the UK during regional heats.

Osian also finished third in the Skills Competition Wales earlier this year - all while studying one-day per week alongside his role as a CNC turning centre operator for IAQ.

His achievements are all the more impressive given that in his day job he uses completely different software to Autodesk Fusion 360, which is used in the skills competitions.

“It’s brilliant to be in the final,” said Osian. “I don’t use the software at work - I’ve only used it through college in the qualifying events I did to qualify, whereas the people I’m up against do use the software. But hopefully I’ll do well!”

Iwan Roberts, engineering lecturer at Coleg Menai, has trained Osian for the skills competitions, and says it bodes well that he was able to learn Autodesk Fusion 360 so quickly.

He said: “It’s the first time we’ve had a work-based learner going to the final in engineering, so that’s a massive credit to Osian.

“He had zero knowledge of Fusion 360. The competition was coming up and I only had a few hours on one day when I could train him - and he ended up getting bronze in Wales!

“To do that after a couple of hours training, it’s unheard of. A couple more training sessions after that, and he’s gone on to the WorldSkills final.

“He’s been an amazing student, and I’ve got high hopes for him.

“I think he’s got incredible discipline and patience. He knows not to move forward until he’s happy with what he’s done - it’s not about who can finish fastest.”

CNC Turning is a specific type of CNC Machining, referring to the particular subtractive machining process where the final piece is spun at high speed and a cutting tool shaves away material.

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and refers to the broader term for a manufacturing process led by a computer program. Parts are designed and developed using CAD (Computer-Aided Design). This CAD file is then used to produce a computer program that controls the CNC turning machine, directing the cutting tools using long lines of code.

In the WorldSkills UK final, Osian will be tasked with making an aluminium component to exacting industrial standards. He will be given three hours computer-programming time, and four hours to machine the part.

The WorldSkills UK national finals will take place from November 14-17 at venues across Greater Manchester.

For more information on engineering courses at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, click here. Applications open in November for September 2024 entry. Open evenings will be held at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s campuses during November - for more information, click here.