WaterSafe’s Gareth Harris on Helping to Judge the Final of the UK Heating Apprentice of the Year 2019 Competition

WaterSafe’s Gareth Harris on Helping to Judge the Final of the UK Heating Apprentice of the Year 2019 Competition

Gareth shares his thoughts as a judge of the recent final of this year’s UK Heating Apprentice of the Year competition organised by HIP Magazine. Many congratulations to the winner, Lewis Blakely of Coleg y Cymoedd in Wales.

“The eight finalists were an exceptional group, in many respects. A friendly and engaged group who are a credit to themselves, their lecturers and their families. Each and every one of them was a pleasure to talk to.

As for the standard of work – outstanding from all eight. Each one completed a very difficult task that included a boiler and heating controls; a shower and toilet and a radiator and underfloor heating. I would have been pleased to have finished the task in the allotted time – a challenging 12 hours over two days!

Standing back and looking at each of the completed jobs it was difficult to pick the winner, and in the end it would take the five judges two hours to get to a final decision. It was definitely the nitty gritty that was going to make the difference.

Lewis, the eventual winner (pictured front row, second from left), was quiet and unassuming. There was genuine shock and emotion on his face – and his lecturer’s – when his name was announced and his prizes were well deserved!

That said, credit once again to each of the competitors. They should all go away with their heads held high and hopefully they will have learnt from the experience and it will stand them in good stead for the future.

The industry is in goods hands if this is the calibre of student that today’s colleges are producing!”

Congratulations to all the regional finalists:

Gareth Harris pictured with North East regional finalist Ben Fairbairn
  • Wales – Lewis Blakely, Coleg y Cymoedd (Winner)
  • Ireland – Leonard Keown, South West College (Runner-up)
  • North East – Ben Fairbairn, Northumberland College
  • North West – Edward Jackson, Bradford College
  • South West – Ryan Fellowes, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
  • Midlands Max Murless, Rotherham College
  • South East – Isabella Stagg, West Suffolk College
  • Highest scoring runner-up – Joseph Worthington, Petroc

Finalists pictured back row left to right: Joseph Worthington; Edward Jackson; Ben Fairbairn; Max Murless. Front row left to right: Ryan Fellowes; Lewis Blakely; Isabella Stagg; Leonard Keown.


Thinking of becoming a plumber? To find out more about training and the qualifications you need to become WaterSafe approved visit watersafe.org.uk/becomeaplumber.

For highlights of the competition visit hip-magazine.co.uk.

Your Comment

Guide for comments

We encourage you to comment on this blog. All views are welcome, but please be constructive.

We reserve the right to make editorial decisions regarding submitted comments, including but not limited to the removal of comments.

  • Comments deemed to be spam or questionable spam will be deleted.
  • Including a link to relevant content is permitted, but comments should be relevant to the post topic.
  • Comments which promote commercial interests will be deleted.
  • Comments containing profanity, language or concepts that could be deemed offensive or that attack a person individually will be deleted.

The comments are moderated, so you may have to be patient in waiting to see them. We will review and post them as promptly as possible during business hours (Monday to Friday, 9am – 5.30pm).

Our Partners

WaterSafe Approved Contractors' Scheme Operators

Anglian WaterAssociation of Plumbing & Heating ContractorsCIPHESevern TrentSNIPEFWIAPS

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience with WaterSafe. Some are essential to provide accurate emergency search results and ensure the website is secure. We also use cookies to help us understand how people use the site and to make improvements. Click "Accept All" to enable recommended settings or click "Manage cookies" to adjust your settings. For more details, see our Cookie Policy.