WaterSafe is encouraging keen plumbing and heating students, learners and apprentices to enter the HIP Learner of the Year competition to showcase their skills. Applications for the 2023 contest are now open and WaterSafe is urging level 2 and 3 students and apprentices to take this opportunity to gain recognition and be in with a chance of winning exciting prizes.


Successful candidates will complete a live practical test during one of six regional heats across England and Wales in January and February. The test will be revealed on the day. The top performers will go on to represent their college at a grand final in April next year.

Julie Spinks, director of WaterSafe, said: “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with the HIP Learner of the Year competition as the apprentices always amaze us with their knowledge and skills. They have such pride in their work which is always a high standard, and I can’t wait to see how they get on in the contest – and the future.”

Last year’s winner Ruben Duggen, a 20-year-old apprentice from Coleg Y Cymoedd, Ystrad Mynach Campus, said: “You don’t know your strengths and weaknesses until they’re tested – the competition is a fantastic opportunity. It has helped build confidence in myself and confidence in my work.” It’s the sixth time WaterSafe, the national register of approved plumbers, has sponsored the skills competition and joined the judging panel for the regional heats and final.

Zoe Tanner, Managing Director at HIP, said: “The WaterSafe team are an excellent fit for us, and we’re pleased to have their continued support. WaterSafe only allows qualified plumbers to become members as they are trained to meet the strict regulations for installing pipes and fittings which supply drinking water. As usual, spaces in the competition are going fast, so I’d urge any interested students to speak to their lecturer about getting their applications in now.”

The WaterSafe scheme is supported by all UK water companies and the drinking water regulators. It provides an online directory of plumbing businesses in the UK who are trained to meet the strict regulations for installing the pipes and fittings that supply drinking water to keep it fresh and wholesome. 

Only one student can be entered per college or campus and students must be aged 24 or under at the time of application. The deadline for college lecturers to submit applications is November 30, 2022.