The second week of the SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year competition saw 2 more skilled competitors reach the grand final.
Team SPARKS hit the road last week, journeying to Petroc College in Tiverton, Devon, on 22nd January, before heading to Gower College Swansea on the 24th.
Only 1 competitor from each region could guarantee their place in the grand final which will be held at 3M in March, with 11 entrants in the South West heat and 9 in Wales.
Head judge Darren Oates gave them 5 hours to complete the task, which incorporated many different elements of their courses, testing them on knowledge, technique and speed.
The rest of the judging panel consisted of Mark Stuart from Electric Center, Steven Devine from The IET and Sarah Burrows from WAGO.
On both days, we ran a blindfolded WAGO connector speed test – stay tuned to our YouTube channel for the highlights!
After the task was over, the competitors and their lecturers enjoyed pizza (courtesy of WAGO) while the judging commenced. Students and apprentices had a chance to chat with each other about the competition and how they found their courses in their different colleges.
When the judging had finished, the presentation took place. All lecturers received CPD certificates and all entrants received certificates of participation as well as goodies from the likes of Klein Tools, WAGO, and Megger. Both Petroc and Gower College Swansea received a trophy for hosting the competition, while head judge Darren Oates thanked both the colleges and the sponsors for helping the competition to happen.
After a long day of working, the competitors found out who had won the heat.
The South West winner was announced as Will Frapple from Petroc. He walked away with even more prizes and will represent his region at the final in a few months’ time.
After the win, the Level 3 student said: “It’s brilliant. It was high standards, everyone was good. The scores were close together.
“I got through it, it was alright – I finished 10 minutes early. Time to sweep up!”
His lecturer Keith Sampson said: “I’m chuffed to bits. He’s done himself proud, really brilliant. We’ve had a winner from here before in 2015.
“We will get him in for a few practice days and make sure he’s ready for it. I’m sure he will do himself proud again.”
The fourth finalist was announced on Thursday as Elliott Dix from the Barry Campus at Cardiff and Vale College. Like Will, he left the heat with tons of great prizes – and can expect even more at the grand final.
Speaking after the heat, Elliott said: “I’m a bit surprised. Over the moon, of course. I can’t believe I’ve won!
“It came down to the wire but I managed to finish it. Some things could have gone a little bit better but the main thing is to finish it.”
His lecturer Geoff Shaw said: “He’s done great, he’s been working hard the last couple of weeks when we’ve had the chance to practice. He does a good job so I’m really pleased for him.
“I had an idea straight away he was maybe in with a chance but it was really good.”
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