Alex Clouston, an Inverness College UHI plumbing apprentice will compete in the national finals of the prestigious SkillPlumb 2018.
Alex is in the second year of his four year plumbing apprenticeship with Pipedream Plumbing in Orkney.
The 20-year-old, who attends Inverness College UHI on block release, is one of eight competitors in the national finals which take place at the NEC in Birmingham on 15th to 17th November as part of WorldSkills UK Live, the UK’s largest skills, apprenticeship and careers event.
Alex won through to the UK finals after impressing in the Scottish heats of the apprenticeship competition, run by the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF), with his copper pipework model.
He was a last minute entrant to the competition after securing a place when another competitor pulled out.
“I can be quite competitive, but I didn’t go into SkillPlumb determined to win. I just thought I would go along, do my best and see what happened. I was so surprised to get through the Scottish finals, but now I’m really looking forward to going to Birmingham and testing my skills against the best apprentices in the country.”
The plumbing apprentice has followed in the footsteps of his father and brother by pursuing a trade.
“I was just about to finish school and walked up to the yard at Pipedream and asked for a job. They gave me a trial and that was it. It’s a good career and I’m really enjoying it.There’s so much more to plumbing than I first expected and so much more variety than people think. I’ve learned so many new and different skills and really enjoyed my time at Inverness College UHI.”
Plumbing lecturer Gary Austin said:
“Reaching the UK finals is a massive achievement for Alex, who is still only in his second year, and everyone at Inverness College UHI is very proud of what he has achieved. He is a great all-rounder and has a real talent for cutting and bending copper, which will serve him well in this prestigious competition.”
If successful, Alex will go on to represent the UK on an international stage.
Andy Gunn, of Pipedream Plumbing, said:
“We are all delighted that Alex has made it to Birmingham. We don’t want to put him under any pressure and, as far as we’re concerned, to make it this far is an achievement in itself – anything else would be a bonus. Alex is the sixth apprentice we’ve had in the 14 years we’ve been trading and we’ve had previous apprentices who’ve won awards, but he’s doing really well and we’re very proud of him and wish him all the best.”