THESE eight bright college apprentices have pitted their wits against the “brightest and best” UK talent and been named apprentice team of the year.

The apprentices, who work for aerospace and defence company Cobham, triumphed in the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, in which eight teams of trainees compete in a series of different tests.

The Cobham team travelled to Cumbria for the finals, where they beat teams from Balfour Beatty, Bentley Motors, the Co-operative, MBDA Missile Systems, the National Apprenticeship Service, Rolls-Royce and Virgin Media.

The group was made up entirely of Bournemouth and Poole College engineering students of Nick Shipp, 20, Ed Tillard, 20, James Coyne-Downhill, 18, Bradley Wood, 18, Lloyd Jamieson, 20, Jade Harrison-Jieve, 17, Mark Empson, 20 and 18-year-old Alex Seton.

Craig Robinson, the college’s engineering apprenticeship manager, said he couldn’t speak highly enough of their achievement: “They were up against some of the brightest and best of talent in UK’s biggest engineering companies. We are so proud of them.”