Plumber Owen Boswell hopes to tap into all he knows this week in a bid to be named the best in Britain.

Owen, 21, from Woodbridge near Ipswich is among dozens of EAL learners who have made it through to the national finals for engineering and building services at the Skills Show in Birmingham.

Having beaten off the competition at the Southern regional finals of the SkillsPlumb competition at Chichester College earlier this year, Owen is undergoing three days intense competition in front of thousands of visitors at Birmingham's NEC before finding out at the Big Celebration on Saturday (November 21) night if he is the gold medallist.

"It is pretty proud moment for me to get this far," said Owen. "I have been practising hard at college doing pipework in the workshop and it would be fantastic to win the national final."

"I have to make a towel rail, two radiators out of copper, a shower and basin all piped up to the boiler so it is pretty similar to what I do in my day job."

Owen is studying a Level 3 EAL NVQ Diploma in Plumbing one day a week at Suffolk New College while employed by Sleepsafe Heating and Boiler Services of Clapton, near Woodbridge.

EAL, the specialist awarding organisation for industry, has a number of other learners competing among more than 130 finalists in the 11 engineering categories managed by its sister organisation Enginuity – which is employer-led and responsible for equipping the UK's vital engineering, science and manufacturing technologies sectors with the skills to compete on the global stage.

EAL learner Owen Boswell goes for gold in plumbing at The Skills Show 2015


Matthew Quelch, External Quality Assessor in Plumbing and Gas for EAL, is one of the judges for the plumbing competition.

He said: "There is a lot of work at the heats before we get here. We do enjoy it – it is a celebration."

"EAL plays a pivotal role in upskilling youngsters throughout engineering and as the specialist awarding organisation our strength shows through these categories."

"We are always very proud to see an EAL learner go through the journey to the pinnacle of their career so far – representing themselves and their company having completed EAL qualifications."

"My role as a competition judge, along with my colleague Steve Thomas, is ensuring the standard of competition is upheld. We have seen the process through the heats to this special occasion."

"This is very aspirational for the young learners and they should be very proud to have made it this far. We welcome them to the competition, make them feel at ease and support them throughout."

The Skills Show is organised by Find a Future - the educational organisation that brings together WorldSkills UK Skills Competitions, The Skills Show and The Skills Show Experience, providing young people across the UK with the chance to unlock their potential and get inspired about the world of work.

Through hands-on skills competitions and experiential careers events, it aims to develop their understanding of, and engagement with, further education, apprenticeships and skills.

Around 80,000 visitors will have the opportunity to try over 45 skills for themselves in the interactive "Have a Go" experiences across the show in careers ranging from hairdressing to engineering, hospitality to plumbing.

The Skills Show is free to attend and open from 19-21 November 2015. For more information, and to book your place, please visit www.theskillsshow.com.

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