Skillbuild Scoring Blunder as Second Roofing Gold Medal Awarded

THE ROOFING INDUSTRY is reeling from Skillbuild’s announcement of a second gold medal winner of the 2019 competition following a scoring blunder.

The first gold medal winner, Jordan Condren, apprentice at Hodgson Sayers and student at Newcastle College was announced at the end of the competition on Saturday 23 November, at a glittering presentation event at the NEC, Birmingham.

That win was thrown into confusion when on Wednesday (27 November) Skillbuild announced a second gold medal winner. Finalist Philip Houghton, apprentice at Avonside Braintree Residential Roofing and student at the Eastern Region Roof Training Group was declared as the joint gold medal winner.

Jordan Condren proudly displaying his gold medal win at Saturday’s awards event.

Huge mess

Jordan Condren said “Skillbuild didn’t tell me, I found out through Twitter.

“It’s a huge mess. I don’t understand what’s gone on. I thought I was the winner and now it’s really taken the shine off that.

“I don’t mean any offence to Philip if he deserves it, he deserves it, but I don’t feel like a joint winner. Everything has gone sideways, it’s a bit rubbish.”

Behind the scenes

Donna Havers, Skillbuild coordinator and CITB employee, said, “Following verification of the score results Skillbuild has awarded a gold medal to Philip Houghton. There are some years when a joint gold medal is awarded, it does happen.

“There were some other things going on behind the scenes but I can’t go into that because of confidentiality. I can’t go in to details because it breaches confidentiality.”

“We will be making the award to Philip as soon as he is available.”


Philip Houghton, 20, received a call from Education & Skills Competition Manager, Chris Heron at Skillbuild’s parent organisation, Worldskills on Tuesday (26 November), telling him that there had been a ‘miscalculation’ of the scores.

A source close to the competition told Roofing Today that Skillbuild had falsely recorded Philip’s score as 2.4 placing him bottom in the competition when in fact it was 24, placing him at the top.

Philip had been very disappointed not to have been placed in the finals because he felt he’d achieved an excellent result. However, he’d accepted the outcome and decided not to ask for a recount and was pleased for his teammate winners.

Philip Houghton awarded joint gold medal winner of Skillbuild 2019. Philip is employed as an apprentice at Avonside Braintree and trains at the Easter Region Roof Training Group. (Picture courtesy Avonside.)

£3m let down

The annual Skillbuild competition takes an enormous effort from all in the UK roofing industry. All roof training colleges participate and employers release their apprentices to compete in the regional heats the colleges host across the country in the 12 months preceding the November finals.

Numerous manufacturers provide support in the form of donations of materials and the total cost of the competition is estimated to exceed £3million.

A spokesperson for the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), which organises the competition, plans its specification, provides judges and conducts the contest, said, “On Saturday evening, it became apparent that Worldskills’ scores differed from the NFRC judges’ scores.

“The NFRC is waiting for an official response into what has happened.”

Repeated blunders

WorldSkills UK is commissioned by the Education & Skills Funding Agency through funding from the Department for Education.

This isn’t the first time that the roofing industry has fallen foul of blunders at the Skillbuild finals. In 2015, the roofing contestants attended the awards presentation at the end of the competition along with the hundreds of other trades’ finalists, only to be told that their results weren’t yet available.

In what was a huge let down, the roofing finalists returned devastated to their hotel in Birmingham without any awards. The NFRC was forced to improvise an alternative ‘presentation’ at the hotel with just the roofing contingent present.

To avoid any further mistakes, this year Skillbuild had shaved time off the competition reducing it to 18 hours to allow more time for reporting the results. However, the collection of the results was reportedly ‘bedlam’ and ‘chaotic’, with dozens of people shouting results from the 95 trades’ finals to staff across the room inputting the scores on to Skillbuild’s system.

Skillbuild had also failed to provide a document to judges this year which acts as a first-line check when reporting their scores.

Contestants for the biennual IFD World Championship for Young Roofers are normally the gold medal winners from the two previous year’s Skillbuild competitions. This means that the 2019 silver medallist, Joseph Osbourne will not be effected by the award of two gold medals this year, as first reported.However, it does mean that there will potentially be three gold medallists eligible to be put forward to compete in the IFD World Championships.


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