Day 2 WorldSkills | TeamUK competitor’s shipments of Brazilian plaster and months of training in attempt for gold

Some ingenious thinking about the difference between British and Brazilian plaster could lead TeamUK competitor Robert Johnson to gold.

The Redcar & Cleveland College 22-year-old had 80 bags of the stuff shipped to the UK from South America to make sure there were no nasty plaster-based surprises.

WorldSkillsUK stalwart Peter Moore, Robert’s training manager, who works for Construction Skills Academy, was behind the brainwave and it may just have put TeamUK on a footing with plastering and drywall systems long-term achievers Germany.

Robert Johnson- Plastering and Dry Wall Systems at Team UK Selection 2015, WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015
Robert Johnson- Plastering and Dry Wall Systems at Team UK Selection 2015, WorldSkills Sao Paulo 2015

Robert, who works for dad Peter’s Classic Plaster Moulds firm, told FE Week last night at the end of day two of competition: “The first two days of competition have been tough. There have been a few changes made but nothing that has affected my game.

“Tomorrow we start with the Brazilian plaster, which I’ve been practicing with at home — we got a ton shipped over for me two months ago to practice with. We had about 80 bags and I got through half of it.

“In Brazil the plaster is very different with a longer set time, because using our plaster in this heat it would just dry straight away. It’s different to use and so I’ve had to learn a totally different technique to use it.

“On familiarisation day I didn’t try it out because I didn’t want to give any techniques away because I know how to use it — others don’t.

“But the German competitor was the only other one who didn’t try it either and they win it every year, so they’ve done the same I think. I’ve seen his work and, again, they’re good.”

He added: “No one wins with 100 per cent at my skill, but I’d put my score so far at 98 per cent — I lost out on just two measurements, which is a common fault. But that’s a personal best so I can’t complain.”

There was also a positive view on TeamUK progress over at architectural stonemasonry, where 20-year-old Sam Turner was giving credit to his training manager, Kevin Calpin (pictured top), from Calpin Associates.

“I’m really happy with where I am today [end of day two]. My timing is really good. Yesterday was just as good. Everything’s been spot on with my training and where I need to be,” said Sam, from York College and who works at The Dean and Chapter of York Minster.

“There are three modules to the task — there are templates that are cut out of aluminium sheet, the second module is a letter and carving module then third is a masonry module which is similar to a column.

“The masonry is the hardest — it’s got a lot of marks in it and a lot of work. I started it yesterday and it’s got to be finished by 2pm on Saturday. I saw the plans before then but there was a 30 per cent change — but they made it easier if anything.

“My training manager’s pushed me, but it’s what I’ve needed to get me here.”

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