Skills Competition success for ceramics student from Llantwit Major


A 45-year-old from Llantwit Major has won a gold medal in the final of a national skills competition.

Backed by the Welsh Government through the European Social Fund, Skills Competition Wales is a series of events held in colleges across the country, designed to celebrate vocational skills and create highly skilled, talented employees for the Welsh workforce.

Ruth Johnston, who is studying a part-time Foundation Degree in Ceramics at Cardiff and Vale College, competed against four other students from across Wales in a series of heritage crafts challenges within a four-hour time period.

The competitors were tasked with creating a piece of art which enhanced and complemented a piece that the competitors had designed previously, and were given the option of using one of four different materials; porcelain, terracotta, raku wear or St Thomas clay.

Ruth said: “I decided to expand on what I had made previously, which was a thrown pot based on one of the animals featured on the animal wall surrounding Cardiff Castle. For the final, I created the animal wall itself, this time featuring different animals, surrounding a motte and bailey castle.

“I’m currently studying for a part time degree, while also working as a freelance environmental consultant. In the future, I’d like to start selling my own ceramics.

“To be successful as a ceramics artist, you have to get yourself out there and make a name for yourself, so hopefully this competition will help me achieve this dream.”

More than 50 competitions are taking place this year, across a wide range of different vocations from bricklaying and hairdressing to aeronautical engineering and culinary art.

Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning, Eluned Morgan said: “Competitions like these are essential for establishing transferable skills for the future. They provide individuals from Wales with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills.”

“I would like to congratulate Ruth on her brilliant achievement and wish her the best of luck in the next stage of her future career.”

Ruth Johnston