Twenty-one year old Josh Ellis from Westmancoat Plumbing, Heating & Electrical Contractors has been crowned 2014 SkillPLUMB champion after excelling in an intensive two-day practical competition at the Birmingham NEC Skills Show.
Over 75,000 visited the event, the nation’s largest skills and careers event, where SkillPLUMB was just one of 65 competitions taking place.
Mr Ellis, a student at Exeter College, took top marks over his fellow finalists in a task to install a small central heating system and a hot/cold water installation comprising a combi boiler, radiators and towel rail, wash hand basin and thermostatic radiator valves and shower.
The task had to be completed within a strict timeframe and was marked against tough criteria including bend and joint quality, bend angles and clearance and measuring and marking out, which had to be accurate within +/- 2mm.
Taking second place and a silver medal was Robert Carter of Derek Hales Ltd and the College of West Anglia. Tied for third place and taking home a bronze medal each was Callum Robertson, of Moray College/SNIPEF and Highland Eco Heat, along with Gavin Rice of South West College/CITB NI and Seamus Matthews Plumbing.
All finalists received prizes including tools, workwear and vouchers alongside a competition medallion and certificate.
Speaking after his win, Mr Ellis said: "When my name came up on the board I was speechless – shell-shocked to be honest! The competition was really tough and tested my abilities. I would have been happy with third place, I really didn’t think I would win but it's great."
SkillPLUMB has the UK Copper Board as its premier sponsor and is organised by BPEC.
"We have been so impressed with the standard of work produced," said Neil Collishaw of BPEC. "Many visitors said that this was the best event they have seen to date. All competitors were really professional and are excellent role models for the thousands of young people who visited the show."