SPARKS headed to Northern Ireland last week to find its latest finalist for the SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year competition.
With four finalists already confirmed from heats in the North East, North West, South West and Wales last month, we hopped on a plane to look for our fifth finalist.
Belfast Metropolitan College was the venue for the competition on Thursday 7th February, with a purpose-built marquee being put up to house the competitors’ bays.
Eleven competitors from colleges throughout the region took part in the five-hour task which incorporated many different elements of their courses, testing them on knowledge, technique and speed.
However, there could only be one winner, and after a nerve-wracking wait whilst judging took place, Scott Barr from South East Regional College was announced as the victor.
Scott, a third-year Level 3 student and employed apprentice, said: “I’m happy, I wasn’t expecting it. Getting it all done within the time was the hardest thing.
“I had about two or three minutes left by the time I finished.
“There were four or five others who I thought were pretty good.
“I’m going to knuckle down and keep doing what I’ve been doing!”
Scott’s lecturer Steven Donnelly added: “I’m absolutely buzzing for him. He’s put in the work for it and he shows.
“It’s the second competition he’s been in and the second competition he’s won.
“I was a judge in a previous competition so I had a fair idea what to be looking for. Personally, I couldn’t find anything wrong with his work, it was very difficult to take points off him.
“It was a fantastic piece of work.”
Like all winners so far, Scott walked away from the competition with a bundle of prizes provided by the competition’s sponsors – but all competitors received a number of items.
Stay tuned to our YouTube channel for highlights of the day, including our ‘What’s the tool?’ blindfold test!
SPARKS Magazine heads to the Midlands and South East regions next week for the final two heats.
The highest-scoring runner-up will join the seven regional winners and battle it out for the SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year crown in a two-day competition held at 3M on 21st and 22nd March.
Get involved in the discussion online – use the hashtag #SPARKSAOY19!
The finalists so far
North East – Bradley Smith, Derwentside College
North West – Zack Duxbury, Burnley College
South West – Will Frapple, Petroc
Wales – Elliott Dix, Cardiff and Vale College
Northern Ireland – Scott Barr, South East Regional College