Good with wood! Chichester College cabinet-makers selected to train as part of skills competition

Owen Aldous

Chichester College duo Owen Aldous and Tom Pennicott have been named in a group of highly-skilled students  – taking them a step closer to competing against other gifted young people in the world.

Owen and Tom, both 19, will be training in cabinet making with the aim of representing Team UK at WorldSkills Kazan in 2019.

They are among almost 150 young people to have been selected for the squad, having excelled at the national skills finals – Owen taking gold in cabinet making at this year’s competition in Birmingham earlier this month.

They will be aiming to continue the college’s pedigree in cabinet making on the world stage – following in the footsteps of former Chichester College students – Edward Harringman and George Callow, who both won gold for the UK in the competition in 2015 and 2013 respectively.

Owen will also be able to draw on the experience of his employers at Callow & Co, which is owned by George and fellow Chichester College alum Luke Griffiths, who competed at the Calgary competition in 2009 where he won a medal of excellence.

Owen said: “It was challenging and I had to push myself, so to win gold and then be included in the squad was amazing.

“It is what I’ve been working towards, and I’m excited to be part of it. George and Luke have both competed on the world stage, and they’ve inspired and supported me – I’m learning a lot from them.”

Luke added: “We are so happy for Owen and it’s fantastic to be carrying on the WorldSkills theme on the job.

“As well as George and myself, we also employ Jack Adams, another Chichester student who was among the squad training for the 2017 competition, and Dave Beattie, who competed in the 2013 competition as a joiner – so the ethos is deeply embedded in what we do.

“Competing was an incredible experience. It has shaped me and my career. I don’t think either George or I would be where we are had we not been through it and worked as hard as we did to be chosen to represent the UK against the best in the world.”

Owen and Tom will now undertake an intensive two year training and selection process, guided by Christian Notley MBE, who is the UK training manager for cabinet making – and is also deputy head of learning for furniture at Chichester College.

He said: “It is fantastic to see the college continuing to excel in cabinet making on the UK stage and to have two more of our students competing to represent their country in the biggest international skills competition is outstanding.

“It’s not an easy journey to the final – they will be put through their paces through several intensive workshops and will have to perform to the best of their ability.

“We will be looking to take the very best cabinet maker to Russia in two years’ time – it’s up to Tom, Owen and James Boyes, from Moulton College, to work hard and to demonstrate why they should be selected.”

About the Author

Carl Eldridge
Carl Eldridge is a hugely experienced journalist who has worked on local and national newspapers, magazines and written for websites over the past 30 years. He lives in Bognor Regis with his wife and son. And he is a life-long Arsenal fan.