The second week of the HIP UK Heating Apprentice of the Year competition saw 2 more skilled competitors reach the grand final.
Team HIP hit the road last week, journeying to Petroc College in Tiverton, Devon, on 22nd January, before heading to Gower College Swansea on the 24th.
Only 1 competitor from each region could guarantee their place in the grand final which will be held at ADEY in March, with 10 entrants in the South West heat and 11 in Wales.
Head judge Tony Kite gave them 6 hours to complete the task, which incorporated many different elements of their courses, testing them on knowledge, technique and speed.
The rest of the judging panel consisted of Glenn Scholfield from Pegler Yorkshire, Gareth Harris from WaterSafe and Ashley Quinton and Colin Yearp from ADEY.
On both days, we ran a blindfolded WAGO connector speed test – stay tuned to our YouTube channel for the highlights!
After the task was over, the competitors and their lecturers enjoyed pizza (courtesy of CIPHE) while the judging commenced. Students and apprentices had a chance to chat to each other about the competition and how they found their courses in their different colleges.
When the judging had finished, the presentation took place. All lecturers received CPD certificates and all entrants received certificates of participation as well as goodies from the likes of STANLEY, WAGO and WaterSafe. Both Petroc and Gower College Swansea received a trophy for hosting the competition, while head judge Tony Kite thanked both the colleges and the sponsors for helping the competition to happen.
After a long day of working, the competitors found out who had won the heat.
The South West winner was announced as Ryan Fellowes from the Stroud Campus at South Gloucestershire & Stroud College. He walked away with even more prizes and will represent his region at the final in a few months’ time.
After the win, the Level 2 student said: “I have never competed or won anything when I have competed before. Time wasn’t the pressure, it was getting the bends.”
His lecturer Lee Wood said: “I’m very proud of Ryan. Ryan is a very modest learner. I asked him how the competition went when he came out, he said, ‘This could have been better, that could have been better.’
“I went in expecting to see a waste of time in there but the work he produces is amazing. It’s the third year I’ve known him. When he first came to us on the plumbing course, it was just to do a gap year before he went to uni.
“We managed to change his mind, he went and did some work experience and he hasn’t looked back really. He is running jobs himself now, he’s doing really well.
“He takes everything in his stride and he has a good chance of doing well in the final.”
Lee added that Ryan’s tutor James Turley, who couldn’t make the event, has also been a strong influence in Ryan’s apprenticeship and helped to make him the plumber he is today.
The fourth finalist was announced on Thursday as Lewis Blakely from the Ystrad Manach Campus at Coleg Y Cymoedd. Like Ryan, he left the heat with tons of great prizes – and can expect even more at the grand final.
Speaking after the heat, Lewis, who is a first-year Level 3 student, said: “I’m overwhelmed. Last year I came and didn’t get what I wanted. I am chuffed to bits today!
“I managed to get everything in and clean everything up to make it look nice and tidy.”
His lecturer Lee Perry said: “We have quite a good record – Lewis is our fourth finalist in the last 5 years and we have had 5 learners go up in the last 6 years.
“From a personal view, very pleasing – you work hard to show the students the correct way of plumbing. When they put things into practice and keep winning, it’s all the better.”
Get involved in the discussion online – use the hashtag #HIPAOY19!