Alex Rendall has won the SPARKS Apprentice of the Year 2020 competition – dropping just two marks out of a possible 151 in the final.
Alex, a Level 3 student from Bridgwater & Taunton College, beat off stiff competition from two other talented electrical learners in the final, which had a new format.
Alex, who won the competition at his third attempt after entering in the previous two years, said: “I’m over the moon, really happy. All the hard work was worth it.
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WE HAVE A WINNER A huge congratulations to @bridgwatertauntoncollege's Alex Rendell, the SPARKS Apprentice of the Year 2020! 👏👏👏 Here's Alex's reaction to winning! Alex dropped just two marks from 151 😮 Congratulations also go to Lucas and Conal, this year's runners-up, who did an incredible job. #SPARKSAOY20
“There are fantastic prizes on offer, it’s a great experience to meet new people and you get to work with products you might not work with on a day-to-day basis.
“It’s great to build your confidence, as you get the plans in the morning and have to keep calm and figure out how you’re going to do it.”
Our two other finalists this year – both Level 3 students – were Conal McCrissican from South Eastern Regional College and Lucas Murgatroyd from Kirklees College .
Conal, who came second overall, said: “It was tricky, but I got my head down and did it. I flew through the conduit work and clamping, but the timing is tricky – making sure your timing is good, not taking too long on certain parts.”
Lucas, who finished third, added: “It was quite challenging. It was different to what I expected but managed to get it completed in the time given – and I’m quite happy with how I did. I practised a lot of conduit and clipping. Testing at the end was tricky though.”
Dozens of competitors took part in seven regional heats between January and March across the country, before the lockdown caused the competition to be postponed.
The seven regional winners completed a short online test and their scores were added to the regional test results.
The top three competed in a one-day live final which took place at their own colleges on 24th September.
Head Judge Geoff Brittain, from NAPIT, said the competition ‘opened his eyes to the new talent coming through in the electrical industry’.
He added: “It’s been a fantastic competition. It’s been an honour to be a judge at the regional heats up and down the country.”
SPARKS Magazine’s Emily Hilton said: “A huge congratulations to Alex on winning this year’s competition with such an incredible score.
“Conal and Lucas also did such a good job in reaching this stage, especially as the format had to be changed, meaning there was another assessment-based round for all of the regional winners to try and qualify from.
“We can’t wait to see the next wave of future electricians in next year’s competition!”
Alongside the prestige for both the winning student and winning college, there were – as usual – fantastic, career-boosting prizes up for grabs. The prizes this year were donated by well-known industry names including our sponsors Schneider Electric, Electric Center, WAGO, DEWALT, The IET, Connexbox, Blaklader, NAPIT and Volkswagen.
Entries are already open for the newly-named SPARKS Learner of the Year 2021, which will kick off in January as multiple competitors from each college compete to represent that college in the second exam-based round, before a live final in April.
For more information and details on how to enter, head to our Events page.