The SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year started off with its first regional heats in the North East and North West last week. The hosting colleges, Newcastle College and Burnley College, respectively, each saw a dozen apprentices take on the electrical task created for them by head judge Darren Oates.
Taking place on one day, the competitors had 5 hours to complete the task, which incorporated many different elements of their courses, testing them on knowledge, technique and speed. The competitors were supervised by Darren Oates and judges Steven Devine from the IET and Sarah Burrows from WAGO.
While the competition was taking place, the participants’ accompanying lecturers took part in a CPD day, with sessions from many major manufacturers such as Klein Tools, EAL, WAGO, and Megger. Lecturers enjoyed freebies and interesting presentations on new products and skills from key players in the industry, as well as a chance to meet other lecturers from different colleges.
After the task was over, the competitors and their lecturers enjoyed pizza while the judging commenced. Students had a chance to chat to 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 their CPD certificates and all entrants received certificates of participation as well as goodies from the likes of WAGO and Schneider Electric. Newcastle College and Burnley College were also awarded a trophy for being such great hosts, while head judge Darren Oates thanked both the colleges and the sponsors for helping the competition to happen.
And then came the moment everyone had been waiting for – the announcement of the winner. Tuesday 15th January’s North East heat at Newcastle College crowned Bradley Smith from Derwentside College as the first SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year Finalist!
The Burnley College North West Heat on Thursday 17th saw Zack Duxbury from host Burnley College, take the top spot. Both will go on to the final at 3M in Bracknell, for a chance to be crowned SPARKS UK Electrical Apprentice of the Year 2019.
The South West and Wales heats are due to take place this week, after which 4 of the 8 finalist spots will be filled! Watch this space for news on the next regional winners.