Woody strikes gold

19 August 2015

Chichester College’s cabinet makers are celebrating more success after former student Edward ‘Woody’ Harringman scooped the top prize at this year’s WorldSkills competition.

Edward Harringman and George Callow
2015 gold medalist Edward 'Woody' Harringman & 2013 gold medalist George Callow celebrate Edward's victory

He won gold at the end of an intense four days at the contest held at Sao Paulo, Brazil, between 11 to 16 August.

Edward fought off strong competition from other talented international craftsmen to secure his position at the top – despite using unfamiliar local timber to build the required side table with drawer and two doors.

In doing so, it means the 21-year-old has repeated the achievements of another former student of Chichester College – George Callow who won gold in the same category two years ago at Leipzig, Germany.

Edward, who now runs his own business, Harringman Cabinet Making, said: “It feels fantastic. I’m really happy and relieved.

“It’s been a long road. It’s taken four years and a lot of sacrifices, so to end it on a high note makes it all worth it.”

WorldSkills, held every two years, is the largest international skills competition in the world. It sees around 1000 young people aged 18-25 from all over the world come together to compete for medals in more than 45 different skills, including electrical installation, welding, web design, cooking and bricklaying.

Edward is the fifth Chichester College student to represent the College on the WorldSkills stage – and the fourth to enter in the cabinet making category, behind George, Chris Wallace, who entered in 2011, and Luke Griffiths, who received a ‘Medal of Excellence’ in 2009.

The trio were guided by lecturer Christian Notley, who runs the College’s Furniture Making Department. He also serves as the World Skills UK training manager and endured a nail-biting wait as Edward raced to finish his cabinet in the final four hours of the contest, having fallen behind schedule going into the final day.

He was delighted by Edward’s achievement and said: “Woody kept his cool throughout, despite being under huge pressure. Each day he did brilliantly but was dropping behind the plan, so on the final day he had a lot to do in just four hours.

“Before the day started, he sent me a text saying ‘four years of training has come down to four hours of work’.  He knew what he had to do and he worked like mad to get it finished, which he did.

“We’ve been on a long journey together over six years, firstly as a student and lecturer then as training manager and Worldskills hopeful.

“He’s done the College proud and himself proud. I’m extremely proud of him and his achievement.”

Edward working on his winning cabinet entry at 2015 WorldSkills

Edward’s interest in cabinet making started while he was studying resistant materials for his GCSEs – working with wood struck an immediate chord with him.

And when he enrolled at Chichester College in 2009 he discovered he could compete against the best in the world.

He explained: “I wouldn’t be here if it hadn’t been for the College. I started my course just as Luke was coming back from Calgary, having competed in the WorldSkills competition there.

“I saw how important that was and that really helped me to develop. Luke, George and I have had some friendly competition, which helped to push us forward and made us better. It’s been a big part of my development.

“I would encourage current students to get involved in the competition themselves, whatever they are studying - aim for that highest level and work hard to get there.

“It won’t be easy, but it is worth it.”

Shelagh Legrave, Chichester College Principal, added: “This is an absolutely fantastic achievement and we are all incredibly proud of Woody.

“This is an amazing success for Woody and also for the College. To have seen two of our students win two golds at successive competitions is just brilliant – it reflects the high standards we are achieving here.

“Huge thanks and congratulations must also go to Christian, who has worked closely with Woody, and also to our talented Furniture Making Department.”

Edward was one of three gold medal winners for the UK team. He was joined by Gary Doyle, from Northern Ireland’s Southern Regional College and Kieran Trainor Plumbing and Heating, and Rianne Chester, from Warrington Collegiate and Beauty By Rianne.