A BRIERLEY Hill engineering apprentice has fought off tough competition to make it into the final of a nationwide skills search.

Ryan Oakes, an apprentice at Steel and Site Services Ltd, was named winner of the construction metalwork category in a regional round of the WorldSkills UK competition, which aims to inspire young people to push their skills to the highest level.

The 20-year-old, who is studying for a Level 2 diploma in fabrication and welding at City of Wolverhampton College, scored one of the highest marks in his category in the regional heats last month.

To make it through - candidates were put to the test to see if they had the skills required for a successful career as a metalwork specialist in the engineering industry.

Given an engineering drawing, competitors were given seven hours to fabricate and weld the base of a jib crane before being judged on their accuracy, workmanship and quality of the finished product.

Ryan is one of ten apprentices who will now go through to the final taking place at the Skills Show at Birmingham’s NEC in November.