The skillPLUMB competition 2018 has named 21-year-old James McCall-Smith from Tullos Training as gold medalist and UK champion.

Closely watched by the judges and over 80,000 visitors to the show, James and his fellow finalists had to complete an intensive two-day practical exercise at WorldSkills UK LIVE at the NEC in Birmingham between 15-17 November 2018.

The exercise consisted of the installation of a small sealed domestic central heating system with expansion vessel and ancillary equipment, inclusive of three small bespoke radiators, an unvented hot water cylinder, a boiler mounting jig, motorised zone valves, and copper pipework (22mm & 15mm).

Taking second place, and a silver medal, was 20-year-old Leonard Keown from South West College. Third place, and a bronze medal, went to 20-year-old Thomas Moys from Petroc. Shane Murray from Southern Regional College and Millan Macdonald from Dundee & Angus College were both highly commended.

All eight finalists received a competition medallion and certificate, together with prizes including a BPEC training manual, vouchers, a goody bag from Unite, CIPHE Membership, tools and plumbing products donated by competition sponsors Monument Tools, McAlpine, and Grundfos Pumps.

As the gold medalist, James will also get the opportunity to take part in the Grundfos Installer Championship, being held at the ISH trade exhibition next March in Frankfurt. This will be a fantastic experience, courtesy of Grundfos Pumps, to test James’ skills against competitors from 20 different countries on an international stage.

Speaking after his win, James said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to have won, the competition was so tight and it seemed like we were all working at the same level so I’ve over the moon to be named the champion.

"It was challenging working under pressure and with the added pressure of the spectators but I just did my best. The support from my employer, family and college was much appreciated and I’m looking forward to progressing in my career with this win under my belt”.

Neil Collishaw, Deputy Chief Executive of BPEC, the organisers of SkillPLUMB, commented: “This year we had a superb set of tasks which really tested and challenged the eight finalists. We are very proud of all of the competitors and have been so impressed with the standard of work produced. The finalists are excellent ambassadors for the industry and fantastic role models for other young people who are considering a career in our industry”.

“The finals are inspirational to young people considering a vocational career and WorldSkills UK LIVE, with over 80,00 visitors, is an excellent platform to showcase the skills and talents of all the finalists. Over the three days we had an excellent turnout of visitors who were all really impressed with the standards of skill on display at our stand.”