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Local student to represent the USA in international competition

LEESBURG, Va. — Luke Dutton of Salisbury will represent the United States in bricklaying during the biennial WorldSkills Competition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Dutton will compete as a member of the SkillsUSA WorldTeam. The 44th international event will be held Oct. 14-19.     

Dutton won the right to compete by earning the gold medal in 2015 during the high-school North Carolina SkillsUSA Championships and the gold medal during the high-school national championships in masonry. He has also successfully completed other qualifying prerequisites prior to being chosen for the team.

“Being chosen to represent my family, community and the United States in the WorldSkills Competition is a great honor,” Dutton said. “I’m looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing a different culture. I enjoy masonry because I’m building something that will last even after I am gone.”

When interviewed about his abilities, Nick Cardillo, Dutton’s supervisor said, “When Luke Dutton came to work for the McGee Brothers Co. two-and-a-half years ago, I was fortunate enough to have him on my crew. I’ve been running a crew for 17 years and have never had a young man catch on as fast as Luke. In high school, he won the North Carolina state and then the SkillsUSA Championships, which was quite an accomplishment. He has cruised through the ranks here, and at 20 years of age, he is one of, if not the youngest, to ever make foreman in the Greensboro division. I wish him well in the WorldSkills competition, and whatever the results, I’ll always be proud to know him and to have been his team leader.”

Dutton’s mother and father, Hope and Harold Dutton, also commented, “To say that we are proud of our son, Luke, would be an understatement. He has become a young man that we both admire. We were surprised when Luke told us that he wanted to be considered for the WorldSkills competition in Abu Dhabi because we couldn’t imagine him wanting to travel outside of the United States. It just seemed so out of character for him. But, he did and he is! It is so inspiring to see Luke taking charge of his life, making his own decisions, setting goals and going after the prize. Our once quiet, shy little boy is stepping out of his comfort zone and making his dreams come true. Go Luke!”’

In the WorldSkills bricklaying contest, working under time constraints, competitors must build a test project using bricks and blocks of different materials. A smooth finish using sand, lime and cement must be achieved.

Judges are also marking for the correct use of equipment and safe working practices. The finished project must include decorative brickwork with projects and recesses. No two projects are ever the same, so bricklayers must be able to adapt their thinking and find solutions to problems efficiently. Bricklayers will interpret drawings, set out and measure, construct and finish to a high standard. They will begin with exceptional planning and scheduling skills and continue work with concentration, precision, accuracy and attention to detail to achieve an excellent finished project.

Every two years, hundreds of young people from more than 77 countries and regions compete in the prestigious WorldSkills Competition. Member countries include Japan, England, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, Thailand, Argentina and many others.

There are 11 members on the SkillsUSA WorldTeam. Other occupational areas in which the United States plans to compete include automobile technology, bakery, hairdressing, mechatronics, plumbing and heating, print media technology, refrigeration and air conditioning, web design and development and welding.

In 2017, more than 1,300 competitors will test their skills in Abu Dhabi. Considered “the best of the best,” contestants compete for four days in 51 occupational skill areas from economic sectors including manufacturing and engineering technology, information and communication technology, construction and building technology, transportation and logistics, creative arts and fashion and social and personal services.

Accompanied by their teachers, trainers and industry technical committee experts, these young people compete before the public in contests that are run and judged by industry using demanding international standards. The competition brings together young people from around the world in their chosen professions. They represent the best students selected in local and national skills competitions for professional education.

Five thousand international experts, delegates and judges will gather from around the world, and 3,000 volunteers will be recruited to assist in the competition. A total of 100,000 student and public spectators will attend the competition at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). For more information about the competition, go to: https://worldskillsabudhabi2017.com/en/.

Unlike other national teams in the WorldSkills Competition, the SkillsUSA WorldTeam is funded solely through private donations. To donate funding or in-kind support, go to: www.skillsusa.org/competitions/worldskills/donate-to-worldteam/.

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