A FORMER Moulton College furniture student has won the gold medal at the prestigious UK National Skillbuild Finals for Furniture and Cabinet Making.
Thomas Gibbs, who completed his Level 3 Furniture Design and Making course this summer, represented Moulton College in the finals, which took place at the WorldSkills UK event at the NEC. He fended off competition from seven other of the best young cabinet makers in the country.
Thomas said: "It was overwhelming to find out I'd won because I was competing against some great people. Then they called my name as the winner and the endorphin rush was amazing!"
The finalists had no idea what they would be building before the final, and were given a technical drawing and some semi-prepared timber for their cabinet when the clock started. They then had 18 hours across three days to complete the task, which is a lot less time than a build like this would usually take.
"If we were given a task like this at college we would normally do it over the course of a month, so you would be able to take more time around each section," said Thomas.
"I am pretty competent with looking at designs and being able to make them, but there are always things that can go wrong, especially with the time element and I got nervous about meeting the quality required within the time we had."
Thomas studied A-levels before joining Moulton College, spending three years on Furniture Studies courses, which culminated in reaching the Skillbuild national finals.
"I really enjoyed the course at Moulton," he said. "The first year is all about hand tools and how to cut wood properly which is really interesting and gets to the heart of the subject, and then as we went on we started designing and making bigger and better things. The tutors know their stuff and are very helpful if you have any problems."
Bruce Marsh, Furniture Studies lecturer at Moulton College said: "The whole team is really proud of Thomas and his amazing achievements. He was a fantastic student and we are so proud that he has gone on to win the gold medal in the national finals."
Thomas wasted no time in getting a job after finishing at Moulton, gaining employment at Silverlining, a company that specialises in bespoke luxury furniture designs.
Applications are open for Furniture Studies and other courses at Moulton College for September 2019. Visit www.moulton.ac.uk for more information and to apply for courses.