AN APPRENTICE bricklayer from Bradford College is set to compete in a national skills contest after being crowned Yorkshire’s best.

Josh Smith from Queensbury won the junior category of the Yorkshire division of the Guild of Bricklayers competition so will go up against the best brickies from across the country in the final in Liverpool next week.

Josh, who is an apprentice with Archcraft Builders in Bradford, has already had his talent recognised at a national level having been named Young Builder of the Year in the 14-18 year-old category of the Youthbuild UK annual awards at the House of Commons last October.

He is also a talented rugby league player and had to leave the Yorkshire contest before collecting his prize in order to turn out on the wing for Keighley Cougars Reserves in a match against the British Army.

The teenager won through to the final despite a mix-up that could have sent his chances crashing to the ground. Although entered into the junior section, the 18-year-old was inadvertently given the task designed for senior competitors.

He was 40 minutes into the complex build before the error was spotted and he was given the correct drawings to follow. Josh demolished the work he’d already done and started constructing the junior-level build and was the only competitor in the junior group to finish ahead of schedule.

Josh said: “I got a text to say I had won when I was on my way to the rugby match and I was buzzing. It felt great to win having had the bad start and I was up against some excellent bricklayers. I would like to thank my tutors and employers for their support in competing and hopefully, I can do them proud in the final."

Joe Lumb, brickwork tutor at Bradford College, said: “For Josh to win the junior section despite the early confusion shows not just his skill and professionalism but also his dedication and ability to adapt and cope with pressure. He is a great ambassador for Bradford College and for his employers. He works incredibly hard and was up against some very talented competitors in the Yorkshire round at Bishop Burton College. Everyone at Bradford College, our apprenticeship team at City Training Services and his employers wish him the best in the final in Liverpool.”

The final of the Guild of Bricklayers competition is being hosted by City of Liverpool College on Thursday June 20.

The Guild of Bricklayers is a national organisation, which runs local competitions, visits, lectures and other activities around the country. Founded in 1932, the organisation aims to promote and maintain the highest standards of craftsmanship in brickwork.