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17 March 2011

Another brick in the wall

The winning Bricklayer Nicolai with family members

By Pia Hegner, Technical Delegate for Denmark

The Bricklayers’ Trade Committee repeated the success from 2009 by making the final selection of the Competitor for WorldSkills London 2011 at Copenhagen Central Station. On a normal day more than 100.000 people walk through the almost 100 year old wooden arches of the station, and the last two days really gave them something to look at – many cell phone cameras flashed. Two young bricklayers were competing for a ticket to the WorldSkills Competition 2011 (WSC2011) in London with Team Denmark, using 40m2 of the station to build walls with the two logos of the Danish Rail.

‘We had a great time here in 2009 and wanted to do it once more. This year, however, we had to pay for the use of the space because we are also displaying the sponsor logos. It is worth it though because we get as close to the same atmosphere as you can experience at a WorldSkills Competition where the same amount of people walk past them every day making a lot of noise and shooting a few comments their way,’ says Erik Fog Larsen from the Bricklayers’ Trade Committee’s Secretariat.

Nicolai Munksgaard Asmussen came out the winner, just as he did in the Nationals in January. He is already Danish Champion in Skip Gymnastics despite having lost a foot in an accident as a child.

He says: ‘It is all about getting as far as you can – and hopefully winning. I have always been like that, no matter whether I was competing with my brother, in gymnastics or at work. And now I want to beat one of my best friends, Esben Kirk Therkildsen, who won the bronze in Bricklaying in Shizuoka in 2007.’

Experts marking the final work of the two Competitors

The bricklayers have really taken advantage of participating in WorldSkills Competitions since 1999. They have developed the curriculum based on the experience from the Competitions, e.g. more drawing lessons and more math. They have raised the standards of the national competition to bring it in line with WSI standards. And they have systematically promoted their participation in skill competitions among the young people already training to become bricklayers so more of them sign up for the local and regional competitions.

However, the most brilliant results from the 10 years of hard work to develop the education are that they have doubled the intake of apprentices over the last five years and even though the standards for the journeyman’s test have been raised by 30% they haven’t experience higher drop-out rates. These are achievements to be proud of.

For WSC2011, Denmark will send a team of 15 Competitors and we expect many new trades to visit the Competition to investigate whether they will participate in WorldSkills Leipzig 2013.

For more information about skill competitions in Denmark go to SkillsDenmark’s website.