Big Brother star Craig Phillips’ Great Yarmouth visit

Celebrity DIY expert Craig Phillips – 60 Minute Makeover star and the first Big Brother winner – was at Great Yarmouth College yesterday to meet apprentices and answer questions.

He was a special guest of the HIP-Ex! And Sparks Expo in the college’s new �6m Kier Building.

The tradeshow, which has been touring other colleges across Britain, is aimed at apprentices and students.

All big names in plumbing and electrical installation were exhibiting, showcasing new products, setting up games and competitions and offering information about the industry.

Phillips, a bricklayer, engineer and DIY expert who appeared in 80 shows of 60 Minute Makeover as well as Craig’s Trade Tips and Renovation Street, declared himself to be a passionate supporter of skills training and said he encouraged apprentices to get as qualified and as skilled as they could.

He said: “I love to see young people coming into the industry. Organising the quizzes with the student teams was interesting to see the students’ knowledge. Many of the questions were health and safety-based and it was interesting to see that the level one students did better than some of the level-three students in health and safety questions because they have done those basic skills more recently.”

Phillips praised the facilities and training environment at Yarmouth College’s construction centre.

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A revival in TV home improvement and-makeover shows was rivalling the success of cookery programmes, he said.

“People want to spend time doing up their homes and they like having the inspiration how to do it,” he said.

“I am a big believer in short courses where people can learn the basic skills to do things themselves.

“It is great for the students to be able to come into the exhibition and meet people from the companies making the products and tools and equipment they will use. They can see all the new tools.”

Dave Austin, presenter of the on-line training company Learning Lounge which delivers electrical installation training to 120 colleges nationwide, was also at the event.

He said: “It’s great to meet the lecturers who all recognise me through the training videos they have used throughout their careers.”