Josh Ellis has been named the winner of the VQ Learner of the Year Award 2015 for England, in recognition of his outstanding achievement following a vocational qualification in Plumbing at Exeter College.

Mr Ellis, 21, won the gold medal at the World Skills competition, with his work deemed ‘near perfect’ by the judges. He has since progressed to a Level 3 Plumbing qualification and become the main installer for his company due to the exceptionally high standard of his work.

Now juggling high demand for his work with his further studies at college, Mr Ellis has recently won the college’s Apprentice of the Year award in recognition of his hard work.

He beat off strong competition from eight other regional winners from across the country to be named the overall winner of the VQ Learner of the Year Award, sponsored by OCR. Mr Ellis was presented with the accolade, as well as an Apple Watch, by television personality Diarmuid Gavin at a ceremony in London on 9 June.

"I'm thrilled to have been named the overall VQ Learner of the Year. Completing a vocational qualification has given me the skills and drive to pursue my chosen career and I am delighted that my hard work has been recognised,” he said. “I would highly recommend vocational learning to others and I hope VQ Day inspires others to explore the wide range of training options and choose a path best suited to their individual skills and interests.”

Held on 10 June, VQ Day is an annual event led by independent education charity, the Edge Foundation. It aims to celebrate vocational achievement. VQ day supports the acquisition of new skills and encourages the uptake of high quality vocational courses.

David Harbourne, acting chief executive officer of the Edge Foundation, said: “Josh is a great example of how technical, practical and vocational qualifications can be the catalyst for a successful and fulfilling career. We wish him the best of luck in the future.”