Thomas J Thomas has won the HIP Apprentice of the Year 2020 competition.
Thomas beat off competition from two other talented plumbing and heating learners in the final, which had a revised format.
The Level 3 Coleg Llandrillo student said: “The competition was great. The final was a step-up from the regional heat – it was a challenge to get it done in time.
“It’s an amazing thing to put on your CV – if I ever need to look for work in future, I can say I’ve done it and it’ll give me a step up.
“It definitely increases your technical skills and gives you a focus on being accurate to the point of complete precision. You have to be confident in what you do and not second-guess yourself.”
He said that anyone thinking of entering next year’s competition ‘should 100 per cent do it’.
He added: “Even if you don’t get through the regionals, it’s still an amazing thing to say you’ve done. Being able to work this accurately under pressure in a competition means that the work you do in college is no problem.”
Thomas’ lecturer Chris Walling said he’d ‘happily have Thomas working in his house’.
He said: “He’s great in college and when we visit him on site he’s always confident.
“He can do anything he wants – he’s got the practical skills, quality of the work, he’s very studious. Best of luck to him, I’m sure he’ll be brilliant at whatever he does.
“I’m made up for him and made up for the college. We’ve entered every single year and have come close previously, but I’m made up to finally have a winner!”
Our two other finalists this year were Level 3 Joseph Parkinson from University Academy Holbeach and Level 2 apprentice Harry Pegler from SGS College.
Joseph, who came second overall, said: “I tried my best – but I was a bit short for time. The competition helps you – when you’re going into someone’s house, you don’t have to look back too much, you know you’ve done a good job. It builds your confidence – even if you don’t win, you get loads of prizes.”
Harry, who finished third, added: “This competition is a great opportunity – it’s great to do and it’s nice to have on your CV. It was challenging and a few bits were stressful, but that’s plumbing!”
Dozens of competitors took part in seven regional heats between January and March across the country, before the lockdown caused the competition to be postponed.
The seven regional winners completed a short online test and their scores were added to the regional test results.
The top three competed in a one-day live final which took place at their own colleges on 29th September.
Platinum sponsor ADEY’s Colin Yearp, who helped judge the competition, said: “Well done to everyone involved.
“All three finalists have brought quality to the whole proceedings and it’s great to see the next generation performing under pressure.”
HIP Magazine’s Emily Hilton said: “A huge congratulations to Thomas on winning this year’s competition.
“Joseph and Harry also did such a good job in reaching this stage, especially as the format had to be changed, meaning there was another assessment-based round for all of the regional winners to try and qualify from.
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A massive congratulations to Thomas J Thomas, the HIP Apprentice of the Year 2020 🎉 🎉 We spoke to Thomas moments after he won the competition, which began in January. Hear what he had to say! #HIPAOY20 @adey_pro @worcesterboschprofessional @dewalttoolsuk @aalbertsipsuk @wiloukltd @hep2o @draytonhome @wagolimited @talon.uk @ratechltd @mirashowers @blaklader @vwcv_uk_media @stelradradiators
“We can’t wait to see the next wave of future plumbing and heating engineers in next year’s competition!”
Alongside the prestige for both the winning student and winning college, there were – as usual – fantastic, career-boosting prizes up for grabs. The prizes this year were donated by well-known industry names including our sponsors ADEY, Worcester Bosch, Pegler Yorkshire, DEWALT, Mira Showers, Graham The Plumbers’ Merchant, RA Tech, Wilo, WAGO, WaterSafe, Wavin, Kingspan, Blaklader and Volkswagen.
Entries are already open for the newly-named HIP Learner of the Year 2021, which will kick off in January as multiple competitors from each college compete to represent that college in the second exam-based round, before a live final in April.
For more information and details on how to enter, head to our Events page.