November 30, 2022
Ruben Duggan won the Gold Medal and was named SkillPLUMB 2022 champion at the recent two-day WorldSkills UK final at Middlesborough College. Employed by Powerserv Ltd and trained by Coleg y Cymoedd, Ruben can be seen in the photograph, second from the right, with the other finalists and Nic Drew of main sponsor Monument Tools (centre).
Taking second place and the Silver Medal, was Sean Esslemont from McDonald & Munro Ltd, UHI Moray College and SNIPEF, with the Bronze Medal going to Royal Engineer Thomas Bentley from Mid Kent College. In addition, finalist Charlie Oliver of Shrewsbury College and Bishton & Cowles Plumbing & Heating received a Medallion of Excellence.
A virtual medal ceremony was live streamed on Friday 25 November in Channel 4’s Packed Lunch studios, with the medals being announced by Steph McGovern.
BPEC is proud to be the SkillPLUMB competition organiser, and it was fantastic to see such high quality of work from all eight finalists, so also well done to Andrew McCann, Kayne Forsyth, Andrew Reain, and Jack Forbes. With the standard of work so high this year, it was a close competition and very little difference between all the competitors.
The finalists took part in an intensive two-day practical exercise. They each had to install a small sealed domestic central heating system with expansion vessel, pump, and ancillary equipment, inclusive of piped radiators, an unvented hot water cylinder and boiler (donated by Worcester Bosch) together with associated copper pipework. The task had to be completed within a strict timeframe and was marked against tough criteria including joint quality, bend angles, and measuring and marking out, which had to be accurate within + / – 2mm.
All finalists received several prizes including two BPEC training manuals, CIPHE membership, cash vouchers, and tools and products donated by the competition sponsors, alongside a SkillPLUMB framed certificate. Main sponsor Monument Tools provided all the finalists with a Pipe Bending Machine and McAlpine Plumbing products supplied knee pads, which were all used during the competition.
Speaking after his win, Ruben said, “I’d been training since the HIP competition as I knew I had to really think about what I was going to do. The SkillPLUMB finals were challenging and very technical. We had to carefully follow drawings and knew the judges would be looking for accuracy with angles and bending. I was really pleased when my name was read out as the Gold Medal winner by Steph McGovern.”
“Ruben had a fantastic approach, and attention to detail, and performed brilliantly over the two days of competition. The standard of work this year was exceptional, with very little difference between all the competitors. We’re so proud of all the finalists. It’s challenging for them to work under pressure during the competition, and the years leading up to this event have been especially difficult due to the pandemic,” commented Neil Collishaw, BPEC CEO. “All the finalists are excellent ambassadors for the industry and brilliant role models for other young people who are considering a career in the plumbing and heating industry.”
BPEC would like to thank the sponsors for their continued support and look forward to SkillPLUMB 2023.