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A total of 31 apprentices from Colleges and training centres across Scotland gathered at West College Scotland’s Paisley campus to showcase their skills and knowledge in the annual SNIPEF SkillPLUMB competition on Friday 21 June. This was the second year running that the College was honoured to host this prestigious event.

SkillPLUMB is an annual skills competition designed to promote standards and skills across the plumbing industry, developing competence into excellence. SkillPLUMB can bring invaluable benefits to students, colleges and employers. Competitors can gain recognition for exceptional skills, injecting dynamism and excitement into training. Employers can enhance their business reputation and improve the skills of their workforce.

The competitors had four hours to complete either a copper pipework exercise or a sheet lead exercise. As the Scotland regional heat for SkillPLUMB, the highest scoring competitors in the copper competition may go on to represent Scotland in the UK final at WorldSkillsUK LIVE at the NEC Birmingham in November. Only the top eight competitors from the six UK Heats are invited to the final.

First place in both the lead and copper competitions were won by third-year apprentices attending Perth College UHI. Shaun McTavish, employed by McDonald & Buist Ltd, took home the first prize for lead, while the top prize in the copper competition went to Kyle McGeoghie, employed by William Combe & Son Ltd.

The lead competition saw second place go to Iain Winnard who attends Glasgow Clyde College and works for Blair Plumbing & Heating Solutions Ltd. Daniel McNeill of Forth Valley College and employed by Matheson Plumbing Co Ltd took home third place.

Second place in the copper competition was awarded to Samuel Henderson of Tullos Training Centre, employed by Derek Scott Plumbing & Heating. Third place was won by Connor Cruden of Moray College, who works for Neil Murray Housebuilders Ltd.

Following the competition, Shaun said,

“I feel like I did really well and I enjoyed the whole competition experience; it was good to work under pressure like that. I found it a great experience competing and meeting lots of different people. I am really chuffed that I won.”

Kyle said, “I’m really happy to have won this year, it was a really tough competition and to end up in first place after coming second last year feels really great. I’m hoping I have done enough to have qualified for the UK final in Birmingham in November, but I will have to wait and see.”

Gordon Nisbet, Plumbing and Gas Lecturer at Perth College UHI was thrilled with the results.

“We are very proud of the way Kyle and Shaun conducted themselves during the competition. The work they produced was to a very high standard and they both were worthy winners. They’re very good ambassadors for Perth College UHI and their respective employers.”

Fiona Hodgson, SNIPEF CEO said, “Our apprentices have demonstrated an exceptionally high standard of skills at this year’s SkillPLUMB competition, and we are honoured to showcase the high quality of apprentice training in Scotland. The apprentices’ skills are a credit to the lecturers who teach them so well, the employers who take them under their wing, and most importantly to themselves for showing such determination to become the best they can be at their chosen trade.”

The prizes were presented by Alan Brown, MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, along with SNIPEF Past President and Copper Judge Gordon Matheson.

David Walker, Curriculum Quality Leader Building Services said: “It was a real honour and a privilege to host the 2019 SNIPEF skillPLUMB Competition at WCS Paisley Campus for the second year running. The competition was a great success and highlighted the skills and talents of our future plumbing & heating engineers”. Congratulations to Shaun McTavish & McDonald & Buist Ltd and Kyle McGeoghie & William Combe & Sons who won the Lead and Coper Competitions respectively. Congratulations also Perth College for an outstanding achievement of training both winners.” 

Liz Connolly, Principal and Chief Executive said of the event,

”We were delighted to work with SNIPEF to host the SkillPlumb Competition 2019.  It was a really lively, and no doubt intensive, event for those who participated.  The skills the apprentices demonstrated were really impressive and each and every one of them should be rightly proud of what they achieved.   To have been selected to represent their employers at such a prestigious event made them all winners.“