Screwfix Trade Apprentice semi-finalists announced

Screwfix Trade Apprentice
(l-r) Dylan Tonge, an apprentice heating engineer from Bolton, Leeds-based apprentice plumber, Liam Paynter and Ethan Wynn, a heating engineer from Buxton

Dylan Tonge, an apprentice heating engineer from Bolton; Ethan Wynn, a heating engineer from Buxton, and Leeds-based apprentice plumber, Liam Paynter, have all reached the semi-final stage of Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2024.

This year’s Screwfix Trade Apprentice received more than 1,800 applications. Entries have now been whittled down to 33.

Dylan, 28, from Bolton is currently studying for a Plumbing and Domestic Heating Level 3 Apprenticeship at City Skills, Salford College.

He said: “I feel that I represent a category of apprentices that are not necessarily discussed within the industry. When most people think of an apprentice, they picture a school leaver not someone in their late 20’s having already worked for a decade within a completely different industry and deciding to make a career jump.

“To reach the semi-finals is a result of my dedication and determination to embark on a successful career in the trades. I’m really proud to have made it to the semi-finals and I’m excited to showcase my story so far.”

Ethan, 21, who is currently studying Level 3 Gas Engineering at Chesterfield College, added: “I can’t believe I’ve reached the semi-finals of Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2024. For me, an apprenticeship isn’t just about learning new skills, it’s helped me unlock a passion.”

“I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, Tourette syndrome, Dyspraxia, and Dyslexia when I was 14 years old. I had always aspired to be a plumber, but due to the unique challenges associated with these disabilities, I thought it was out of my reach. However, through perseverance, dedication, and the support of my family, friends, tutors, and colleagues I have successfully navigated these challenges.”

Liam, 16, one of this year’s youngest semi-finalists, is currently studying plumbing at Leeds College of Building. He was nominated by his employer, Dale Taafe at Dyno Plumbing.

Dale said: “I’m delighted that Liam has reached the semi-finals of Screwfix Trade Apprentice 2024. Liam is without doubt the best apprentice we have ever employed; he has a thirst for knowledge and a genuine love of the trade. It is a great achievement.”

This year’s final will return to London in May, where the top 10 apprentices will face a panel of industry experts to showcase why they believe they should be this year’s champion. One will be crowned Screwfix Trade Apprentice and will receive a £10,000 trade bundle made up of tools, tech and training.

The judging panel includes representatives from Screwfix, the Federation of Master Builders, the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering, and the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting.

In addition, Astrid Arnold, winner of Screwfix Top Tradesperson 2023, will also be at the final to talk about her own experiences and share some of the projects she’s been a part of since being crowned champion.

Jack Wallace, marketing director for Screwfix, added: “The skills gap facing our industry is showing no signs of slowing down, so it remains as crucial as ever to highlight just how rewarding a career in the trades can be.

“Once again, the calibre of entries this year has been amazing, and every one of the 33 semi-finalists are a shining example of how hard work and passion can take you anywhere. Regardless of who makes the final 10, they should all be incredibly proud of their achievement, and I have no doubt they’ve inspired even more people to consider a career in the trades. I wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to the final in May.”

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