Return of SNIPEF’s SkillPLUMB competition gives Scotland’s apprentice plumbers opportunity to display expertise

Skillplub winners: back row (lead winners) – Ryan McCrone, Gregor McNee, Ben Mitchell and front row (copper winners) – Sean Esslemont, Kayne Forsyth, Jack Forbes.pdf

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FOLLOWING a two-year Covid gap, Scotland’s top plumbing apprentices have finally had the opportunity of demonstrating their expertise at the much-anticipated SkillsPLUMB competition held at Glasgow Clyde College last month (June 2022).

Organised by SNIPEF, Scotland and Northern Ireland’s plumbing and heating industry’s trade association, the SkillPLUMB competition, which enables talented apprentices to showcase their skills and knowledge of best plumbing practice, is designed to promote standards and skills across the plumbing industry by developing competence into excellence.

Under close inspection by industry experts, competing apprentices tested their expertise on a series of challenging practical tests and were assessed on their individual knowledge, practical skills and employability attributes against set criteria in a competitively timed environment.

The action-packed day saw a total of 24 apprentices from colleges and training centres across Scotland competing for the top prizes in the lead and copper competitions. The winners were as follows:

LEAD Winners

  • First: Gregor McNee of Dundee & Angus College who is employed by Tayside Boiler Services.
  • Second: Ryan McCrone of Glasgow Clyde College who works for Cruden Building (Scotland) Ltd.
  • Third: Ben Mitchell of West College Scotland (Paisley) who is employed by James Frew.

COPPER Winners

  • First: Sean Esslemont of Moray College who is employed by McDonald & Munro Ltd.
  • Second: Kayne Forsyth of North East College Scotland who works for Camwater Ltd.
  • Third: Jack Forbes of Edinburgh College who is employed by A Alexander & Son (Electrical) Ltd.

The competition gave participants three hours to complete practical exercises in copper pipework or lead work before their work was to be critiqued assessed and marked by a panel of technical experts. 

As the Scotland regional heat for SkillPLUMB, the highest-scoring competitors in the copper competition may go onto represent Scotland in the WorldSkillsUK 2022 National Finals which will take place this November in Middlesbrough.

The judges of the lead competition were Alan Marshall, Associated Lead Mills, Robin Hall, SNIPEF Past President and George Todd, SNIPEF Technical Advisor.

The judges of the copper competition were John Docherty, SNIPEF Junior Vice-President, Paul Dodds MBE, UK Skills, Mally Butters, British Plumbing Employers Council (BPEC) and Martyn Raine, SNIPEF Technical Manager.

Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, attended the event as the SkillPLUMB competition’s guest of honour.

Stephanie Lowe, Acting Chief Executive Officer of SNIPEF, said: “This great event would not be possible without the support of our partners, funders and sponsors to whom we wish to say a huge thank you, not least to Associated Lead Mills for supplying the lead and Mueller Europe for supplying the copper.”

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