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News ReleaseWelsh-Born Welding Apprentice Wins National Competition

May 13, 2004 Lehigh Valley, Pa.

Gareth Rees, 19, an apprentice welder from Caerfyrddin (Carmarthen), is the winner of the National Welding Competition for Welding Apprentices, SkillWeld, sponsored by Air Products.

Gareth, who is an apprentice with Whitland Engineering Ltd (Pembrokeshire), attends Prestige Training Ltd for his formal practical and theoretical training.

After the competition, Gareth said: 'I am very proud to be this year's winner of the SkillWeld competition. It gives me great confidence for the future.'

As sponsor, Air Products provided funding for the regional and national competitions. Aaron Williams, Commercial Technologist and Welding Engineer at Air Products, was also part of the judging panel for the National final.

Gareth was presented with the prizes by The Rt Hon Lord Trefgarne PC, Chairman of Engineering and Marine Training Authority, Chairman of SkillENG and a Board Member of UK SKILLS after the final at TWI on 16th April.

Air Products considers its sponsorship of SkillWeld to be an important part of its programme to support the future of welding.

"We are very proud of being associated with SkillWeld. The increased number of participants and the quality of their skills bodes well for the continual resilience of the UK Welding industry", said Gary Cunliffe, Metal Fabrication Marketing Manager, Air Products. One of the finalists of the UK Skillweld Finals will be chosen to represent the UK at the World Skills Olympics in Helsinki, 2005.

About Air Products

Air Products (NYSE:APD) serves customers in technology, energy, healthcare and industrial markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of products, services and solutions, providing atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials and chemical intermediates. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives and has significant positions in core technologies such as gases for welding and cutting. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment. With annual revenues of $6.3 billion and operations in over 30 countries, the company's 18,500 employees build lasting relationships with their customers and communities based on understanding, integrity and passion. For more information, visit  

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