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Apprentices show off their skills

The electricians of tomorrow proved the industry is in safe hands at SECTT’S Apprentice of the Year Competition and eMAC contest

Talented apprentices showed off the high standard of their skills as they battled it out at competitions across the country.

Three regional heats of this year’s Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) Apprentice of the Year Competition took place in June, with the winners going forward to the final of the contest in October.

And more excellent work was on display from the skilled candidates at the Electrotechnical Modern Apprenticeship Competition (eMAC). Anne Galbraith, Chief Executive of SECTT, said: “Congratulations to all the apprentices who took part in the competitions – they should be very proud of their efforts.

“These competitions are such a good experience and the camaraderie among the competitors, as well as the commitment and effort they put in on the day, never fails to amaze me.”

First and second-stage apprentices took on the 2019 Apprentice of the Year challenge – which has been updated to fall in line with UK Skills and SECTT’s eMAC contest for third-stage trainees.

“You can feel the tension in the workshops and I commend all the apprentices for their hard work”

- Anne Galbraith, SECTT

The competitors’ exercise involved PVC conduit and trunking for a lighting circuit. The first-stage apprentices surface clipped PVC twin and earth cable while second-stage candidates surface clipped a steel wire

armoured cable for a radial socket circuit.

The first heat was held at Moray College UHI on 4 June. Sean Davies, a student at Inverness College UHI who works with Korrie Mechanical and Plumbing Ltd, was the winner of the first-stage contest. Moray College UHI student Craig Davidson, of Muirton Control and Automation Ltd, came first in the second-stage event.

The Ayr Campus of Ayrshire College hosted the next heat on 18 June. The winner of the first-stage category was Fergus Hiddleston, who studies at Dumfries and Galloway College and works with Derek Mitchell Electrical Ltd. The second-stage winner was Thomas Woods, a student at Ayr Campus, who works for T Walsh Contracts.

The third heat took place on 26 June at Sighthill Campus, Edinburgh College, where Barrie McKay, SECTT’s Training and Development Manager, was on hand to present prizes. Perth College UHI’s Frazer Matchett, of R W Bell (Electrical) Pitlochry Ltd, was top in the first-stage competition. The second-stage winner was Dean Callan, a student at Forth Valley College’s Falkirk Campus who works for T Clarke Scotland Ltd.

Meanwhile, the annual eMAC was held at the Kingsway Campus of Dundee and Angus College on 12 June.

The contest involves the best third-stage apprentices from all over Scotland, selected for the quality of their work and performance. The gold medal was won by Lewis Sim, from Moray College UHI. Blair Angus, of Ayrshire College’s Ayr Campus, took silver and the bronze went to Darren Kerr, from the Motherwell Campus of New College Lanarkshire.

UK Skills judges will now decide which candidates will be selected from all the regional competitions to take part in the UK Skills contest at the NEC Birmingham in November.

Anne Galbraith (pictured above with the eMAC winners) added: “It is always a pleasure to speak to the apprentices, who all say the same – how much they enjoy being an electrical installation apprentice and the career opportunities that becoming an electrician offers.

“You can feel the tension in the workshops and I commend all the apprentices for their hard work.

“I would also like to thank all those who came along to support them. Each heat was extremely well attended.”

Apprentices with their kits

Locking in safety

More than 650 apprentices and adult trainees are being supplied with free lockout kits by the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) and Electrical Safety First (ESF).

The kits, worth £30 each, will help them ensure electricity is turned off – and stays off – until work is safely completed. This process, known as safe isolation, is a safety fundamental and essential in helping to avoid a serious or even fatal electric shock.

Anne Galbraith, Chief Executive of SECTT, said: “I cannot stress enough the importance of working safely at all times, to protect the apprentices, colleagues, the public and property.

“The kits will be provided to apprentices and adult trainees from the Shetland Isles to the Borders. They should become familiar with them as they are the same as the kits used in the Final Integrated Competence Assessment.”

Phil Buckle, Chief Executive of ESF, added: “Adopting safe working practices and procedures is essential. Embedding this at the beginning of an electrician’s career is key. The kits not only provide crucial safety equipment but, we hope, also promote safe working as an ingrained habit.”


For more information on SECTT and its work, call 0131 445 5659, visit or email

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