Apprentice Ben handles the heat of competition

A Berwick man has withstood the heat of competition to qualify for a national skills’ final.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 2:29 pm
Ben Fairbairn, winner of the North East regional plumbing and heating apprentice of the year competition.

Ben Fairbairn won the North East regional round of the HIP Heating Apprentice of the Year contest.

Ben, who is serving his time with Berwick-based Stephen Roughead Plumbing and Heating, competed against 11 other candidates from colleges across the region.

He was nominated for the competition by Northumberland College, where he attends the Ashington campus on day release.

He has gone one better than last year when he was nominated for the same award, a fine achievement given that he had just started his second year as an apprentice at the time.

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His boss Stephen said: “I’m very happy for him. For Ben to go on and win the 2019 competition shows that he is gaining the knowledge and skills to become a very good tradesman.”

Ben saw off competition from candidates from colleges in Newcastle, Sunderland, Durham, Middlesbrough and Hull to win the regional award.

The annual competition, launched in 2009 by HIP, a national magazine for heating and plumbing students, gives learners the chance to gain recognition for their hard work and skills.

It also gives lecturers and leading industry manufacturers the opportunity to get involved and to support the next generation of installers.

Alongside the prestige for both student and college of winning a nationwide competition, £9,000 of prizes – donated by leading industry names – are on offer.

Colleges can enter one level 2 or level 3 student into one of seven regional heats. Learners must be aged 24 or under and have successfully completed the previous year’s test paper.

Each regional heat winner, plus the student who has received the highest overall regional score, goes forward to the national final to be held in Cheltenham on March 28 and 29.