Jack Barker was crowned National Apprentice Plumber of the Year 2014 in last week's competitive grand final, hosted by Adey Professional Heating Solutions in Cheltenham.

The nationwide competition is organised by Heating Installers & Plumbers (HIP) UK to support young plumbing apprentices entering the trade, and last week’s grand final saw the seven winners of the regional heats battling for the annual title.

The competitors were up against the clock to install a boiler rig, pipework, radiators and an Adey MagnaClean Professional2 magnetic filter. Their skills were then judged by Adey chief executive Chris Adey, CIPHE national competition judge Tony Kite and HIP managing editor and event organiser Celia Matthews.

Mr Barker, the South West finalist representing Petroc College in Devon, was named the winner. Harry Teasdale, the North East finalist from Redcar and Cleveland College, was highly commended as runner-up.

“It was a very close competition,” said Mr Adey. “Each of the apprentices did a fantastic job under great pressure. Deciding the winner was really difficult, but Jack just had the edge – with Harry not far behind.

“Having been an apprentice with British Gas, I know what it’s like to be in their shoes, learning the trade and honing your skills. Each of them has done incredibly well to get to the competition final and they should be very proud of themselves.

“It’s been an honour to host the event at our training centre for the first time and we’re really pleased to be supporting the next generation of plumbing and heating engineers, helping them to understand the importance and benefits of following industry best practice.”

Fellow judge Ms Matthews added: “The competition is now in its sixth year and until now the final has always been held at a college, but it’s been great to have such a huge amount of support from one of the industry’s leading manufacturers.

“We’ve been very impressed by the quality of work produced by our finalists, who have worked so hard to get here. However, it was great to see the winner crowned and our congratulations go to Jack on a job well done.”