West College Scotland were delighted to again host the annual James Frew Academy “Beat the Boss” competition which was held on 6 October at their Paisley Campus. Now in its 6th year, the highly competitive event sees James Frew Academy 1st year Modern Apprentices come up against Managing Director Roddy Frew, alongside the trio of Head of Operations, John Barbour, Paul Lynn and Gordon Mack. 

Gas Training and Compliance Manager Kevin Kidd, Training Coordinator Elaine Kean and SNIPEF Regional Training Officer Robert Barclay were also in attendance and led the team building activities. 

The group of 10 plumbing apprentices admirably took up the challenge of trying to “beat the boss” in a full day of activities which commenced with some pipe bending training soon to be followed by the main event the pipe-bending competition. Despite a perfect offset and double bend, Roddy mis-calculated the last tail and was left 30mm short on the model. 

This shortfall saw Modern Apprentice James Boyd, from Kilbirnie, take top spot as the star of the show and the judging team agreed that he produced the best copper model and was duly crowned pipe-bending champion 2023.

The James Frew management team redeemed themselves with a perfectly planned and constructed “Strawbridge”, comfortably standing up to the sandbag test.

Head of Sector for Construction and Building Services Allan Bauld commented: “Every year, I have been very impressed with the time the James Frew management team spend going around all the apprentices checking on them, chatting about work and their lives. It was lovely to see so many James Frew staff in attendance and interacting with the apprentices.” 

Roddy said: “The “Beat the Boss” competitions are great events and allow myself and my team the opportunity to get to know our apprentices and indeed for the apprentices to engage fully with myself and our management team. I know from past experience, that our apprentices form a strong bond with one and other, which in turn, helps them support each other along their learning journey and beyond.”

Roddy added: “This year, we have added a Carpentry and Joinery Modern Apprenticeship group to our James Frew Academy, and I am looking forward to their “Beat The Boss” competition on 27th October at Ayrshire College’s Kilwinning Campus.”

James Frew Training Coordinator Elaine Kean said: “We have been running these events for the past six years and the WCS team always go above and beyond to make them a tremendous success. This year was no different. A big thanks to Allan Bauld and his WCS team for their efforts in hosting the event and also to Robert Barclay SNIPEF Regional Training Officer who provides invaluable support to all our apprentices throughout the year.”


Founder of Paisley.org.uk in 1998 and constantly strives to change peoples attitudes to the town, Brian is a self described Paisley Digital Champion who promotes Paisley via any means necessary. You can also follow me on X