An Apprentice from the Grimsby Institute has won the national title of SkillPlumb Champion 2011, part of the International WorldSkills competitions.
24-year-old Tom King is a former student of Tollbar Academy and started his training with the Grimsby Institute’s Department of Plumbing two years ago as an Apprentice Plumber, having already completed an Apprenticeship in Joinery.
Tom displayed a natural aptitude for Plumbing and his tutor at that time, Jason Laycock, realised that Tom had a talent for the accuracy of his pipework, which he attributed partly to the ‘measure twice, cut once’ mentality of joiners.
Jason set Tom tasks on a weekly basis to fabricate increasingly more complicated pipe rigs and installations. This led to Tom being entered into his first competition, HIP-EX, which is open to lower level and full-time learners. Tom was joined by Tim Coney, a fellow Apprentice, and the duo competed in the regional heats, securing first and second places between them and both achieving places in the National Final.
Tom was subsequently entered into SkillPlumb, the premier competition for aspiring Plumbing Apprentices in the UK, where he performed with outstanding precision in the Regional Heats, progressing to the National Final with an unprecedented score of 96%. The final took place at Leeds College of Building with the UK's top 10 Apprentice Plumbers competing for the title of SkillPlumb Champion 2011.
Over the difficult and intense four-day challenge, Tom performed exceptionally well and was finally announced as the UK SkillPlumb Champion. James Branney, the Grimsby Institute’s Head of School for Construction, was clearly thrilled with Tom’s success, James said:
"Naturally all staff involved in his training over the last two years, the entire Plumbing Department, and of course everyone at the Institute, are exceptionally proud of Tom and his achievements. We're now looking forward to him beginning the next stage in his training when he starts Level 3 with us.
" Tom's current tutor, Stephen Hilton, added: "It's a pleasure to have Tom at the Institute and I very much look forward to taking him through his Level 3 qualification over the next two years, putting the final touches to an already gifted apprentice plumber.
"With these experiences behind him, perhaps Tom can also assist the teaching staff in training the younger apprentices in readiness for future skills competitions” Tom will attend the WorldSkills events in London in October to receive his award, he said:
"I really didn't expect to win. We were asked to spend the four days installing a bathroom suite which included the fitting of a couple of radiators, a basin, a shower, all of which was really difficult, especially the intricate pipe-work and the bends. “When I'd finished I looked at some of the work of the other competitors and I thought there were definitely one or two that looked a lot better than mine, so I thought that at best I would get a third or fourth place. I was completely shocked when my name was read out as the winner. "I'm over the moon and to be honest really chuffed with myself, to win the national final is just an amazing feeling.