The HIP UK Heating Apprentice of the Year started off with its first regional heats in the North East and North West last week. The hosting colleges, Newcastle College and Burnley College, respectively, each saw a dozen apprentices take on the plumbing task created for them by head judge Tony Kite.
Taking place on one day, the competitors had 6 hours to complete the task, which incorporated many different elements of their courses, testing them on knowledge, technique and speed. The competitors were supervised by Tony Kite and judges Glenn Scholfield from Pegler Yorkshire, Gareth Harris from Watersafe and Glenn Stonehouse and Ashley Quinton from ADEY. 2016 competition winner Jack Miller also joined the judging panel in Newcastle, who won the North East heat before going on to win at the grand final.
While the competition was taking place, the participants’ accompanying lecturers took part in a CPD day, with sessions from many major manufacturers such as ADEY, Graham, Pegler Yorkshire and JG Speedfit. Lecturers enjoyed freebies and interesting presentations on new products and skills from key players in the industry, as well as a chance to meet other lecturers from different colleges. In Burnley, lecturer Ian Hall hosted a peer discussion on the new plumbing regulations and how these were to be incorporated into classes, providing a great space to share ideas.
After the task was over, the competitors and their lecturers enjoyed pizza while the judging commenced. Students 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 their CPD certificates and all entrants received certificates of participation as well as goodies from the likes of STANLEY, WAGO and WaterSafe. Newcastle College and Burnley College were also awarded a trophy for being such great hosts, while head judge Tony Kite thanked both the colleges and the sponsors for helping the competition to happen.
And then came the moment everyone had been waiting for – the announcement of the winner. Tuesday 15th January’s North East heat at Newcastle College crowned Ben Fairbairn from Northumberland College as the first HIP UK Heating Apprentice of the Year Finalist!
The Burnley College North West Heat on Thursday 17th saw Edward Jackson, Level 2 at Bradford College, take the top spot. Both will go on to the final at the ADEY Head Office in March, for a chance to be crowned HIP UK Heating Apprentice of the Year 2019.
The South West and Wales heats are due to take place this week, after which 4 of the 8 finalist spots will be filled! Watch this space for news on the next regional winners.