The first two SkillPLUMB 2014 heats have got off to a flying start with apprentice Robert Carter winning the South of England heat, and Lloyd Wakefield taking first spot at the Welsh event.
Robert, a student at the College of West Anglia and employed by Derek Hales Ltd, was up against eight other competitors at a busy event hosted at Barking & Dagenham College on the 30th April.
Lloyd, from Bridgend College scored most highly against seven other competitors at the Welsh event held at Coleg Sir Gar on 8th May.
The task at hand for both competitions was the installation of copper pipework, including various jointing techniques and complex pipe bending. Judges awarded Robert and Lloyd with the most points against tough criteria including bend and joint quality, angles and clearance, and task layout and pipework soundness.
Second place slots in the two heats went to Josh Ellis of Exeter College and employed by Westmancote Plumbing Heating & Electrical Contractors, along with Ellis McCutcheon of Bridgend College and Colin James Plumbing & Heating.
Fergus O’Connell, also from Exeter College and employed by NG Bailey, and David Doughty of Coleg Sir Gar and Elrig Jones both bagged third place in their respective events.
Speaking of his win, 21-year old Robert said: “It’s great to have won, I’m really proud that I did my best and it’s paid off. Everyone was working to a really high standard so to be named the winner is brilliant. I’d like to say thanks to my college and employer for their support along the way.”
Lloyd, 23, added: “I’m so pleased to have entered the competition and done so well. Being ranked top in Wales is a real confidence boost and it’s going to be exciting representing my country at the next stage.”
SkillPLUMB has The UK Copper Board as its premier sponsor and is organised by the JIB-PMES. Over 1700 young people visited the event at Barking & Dagenham College as the competition was run alongside a regional Skills Show Experience. In Wales, both the First Minister and Deputy Minister of Wales both attended to watch the competitors in action.
Next month the final two English regional heats will take place, following which the highest scoring candidates across all heats will be invited to the SkillPLUMB UK final held in November at the prestigious Skills Show at the Birmingham NEC, the UK’s largest skills and careers show with over 80,000 visitors.
Neil Collishaw, of the JIB-PMES, said: ”The two events so far have been fantastic. We’re already seeing high standards of work produced under a pressurised environment, and we’ve also celebrated the diversity of the industry with our first female competitor in Wales. Overall I’ve been impressed by the professionalism and maturity of the competitors so far and am looking forward to the next two events.”
To find out more about the competition visit www.jib-pmes.org/skillplumb