Blackwood plumbing apprentice wins national award

Submitted by working word

A 20-year-old from Blackwood has been named Britain’s best apprentice plumber.

Blackwood’s Ruben Duggan took home the grand finale of this year’s HIP Apprentice of the Year competition. The aim of the competition is to put the spotlight on the most talented young trainees in the industry.

Ruben’s triumph earned him the title of Best Plumber and took home a huge collection of professional tools and equipment worth over £5,000.

Ruben is studying an NVQ Level 3 Plumbing Diploma at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Ystrad Mynach campus and won after a tough two day competition at Worcester-Bosch HQ in Worcester.

The talented trainee secured a place in the finals after winning the Welsh regional run at Ebbw Vale College in March, where he completed a series of piping tasks to secure his place in the finals.

At the event, he competed against five other regional finalists in a series of challenges. Each contestant was given just 12 hours to install a boiler, shower, cylinder, radiator, plumbing and vanity, with their work being evaluated by a panel of professional industry judges.

Ruben comes from a family of plumbers, his father ran his own successful business and his older brother also worked in the industry. From a young age, Ruben was inspired to follow in his parents’ footsteps and pursue a career in the industry.

Ruben said: “I’m really glad that the college encouraged and supported me to take part in this competition. It was a challenging but fantastic experience that gave me the opportunity to show off my skills. I wasn’t expecting to win so I was really surprised when I did! “It’s a great feeling to be recognized and I think the award will help me in my future career. I’m really proud to have won, although I have to say my dad was even more excited than me.”

As a Level 3 learner and trainee, Ruben’s time is split between college-based learning at Coleg y Cymoedd and his practical work at Power Serv, a plumbing company in South Wales. After completing his apprenticeship later this year, he will continue to work full-time in his family business.

Lee Perry, Lecturer in Plumbing at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “We are very proud of Ruben. From day one we knew he was an outstanding learner. Since his father was already in the industry, he learned a lot about the job at a young age and it shows in his skills. He is an example of a learner who lives and breathes plumbing, and his achievement is a result of his hard work and dedication to his job.

“Coleg y Cymoedd has a strong track record at the HIP Plumbing Awards. Out of nine competitions held in the last decade, our learners have reached the UK finals on seven occasions, two of which have won the prestigious award.

“This is proof of the high quality of teaching we offer at the university. We work hard to demonstrate the highest level of installation to our learners and ensure we are always up to date with industry standards. It is nice to see that our trainees are doing so well.”

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