JTL plumbing apprentice Jonathan Caisley, who is learning at Tyne Metropolitan College (TyneMet) TMC Campus, has been pipped at the post in his bid to win a prestigious national skills competition.

Talented Jonathan, 21, who studies plumbing and heating during day release from a first year Level 3 apprenticeship, competed in the HIP Heating Apprentice of the Year contest after winning his regional round in January.

In the final, which took place on April 25 and 26 at ADEY Training and Conference Centre, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, he performed highly against seven competitors but was unable to clinch the coveted title.

Alyn Carr, Deputy Head of Construction at TyneMet, said: “Jonathan displayed great ability in winning the North East heat.

“He carried his skills through to the final, where he did very well over two tough days of competition. Unfortunately, he narrowly lost out in what was a hard-fought battle for first place.

“Jonathan should be very proud of his efforts, as I am, and he showed that he had the talent and ability to enjoy a very successful career.”

He added: “Although he did not win, it was a massive achievement to be ranked in the top eight nationally. He has done both his employer and the college proud.”

Jonathan is employed by NU-Heat, the UK's largest supplier of warm water underfloor heating and integrated renewable solutions, and is an apprentice with JTL, a charity whose services include advanced apprenticeships, other training courses and NVQ assessments, within the Building Services sector.

The HIP annual competition was launched in 2009 by the national magazine for heating and plumbing students. It is designed to give learners the chance to gain recognition for their hard work and skills.

The contest also gives lecturers and leading industry manufacturers the opportunity to get involved and to support the next generation of installers.

Alongside the prestige for both student and college of winning a nationwide competition, £9,000 of prizes - donated by leading industry names – are on offer.

Colleges can enter one level 2 or level 3 student into one of seven regional heats – learners must be aged 24 or under and have successfully completed the previous year’s test paper.

At each regional heat, the winner plus the student who has received the highest overall regional score, go forward to the final.