Scottish plumber earns Medallion for Excellence at international skills competition

Connor Cruden

SCOTTISH plumber Connor Cruden finished 7th in the WorldSkills Plumbing international competition in Lahr, Germany last week.

The Turriff-based plumber was awarded the Medallion for Excellence for his efforts.

Connor, who came top in 2019 at the SkillPLUMB UK finals to find the country’s most accomplished apprentice, was just 13 points away from the eventual gold medal winner, from Austria.

The competition, originally scheduled to take place last year in Shanghai, was relocated to Germany because of Chinese Covid-19 restrictions. It involved participants from 20 countries.

Connor, who works for Cowie Plumbing & Heating, said, “What a fantastic event. It stretched over three days and we were thrown straight into the thick of it with challenges including installing a bathroom and waste water pipes.

“It was 19.5 hours of intense competition, at a really high standard, and, after Day 2, I was in the lead. I was ahead of the pack – but on the final day I made a couple of stupid mistakes. I knew as soon as it happened and it cost me the points that could have brought me a Gold.

“I had trained hard and I entered the contest confidently. I would like to thank SNIPEF [Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation] for all the help, assistance and encouragement they provided to get me to this point – and also for a very generous, and very unexpected, financial consideration they gave me to mark my effort.”

Connor, who was coached by Newry-based Ronnie Ferris, had support in the crowd from his Aberdeenshire farmer parents Iain and Fiona, employer Garry Cowie, Moray College lecturer Jim Mackinnon, SNIPEF colleagues and friends.

Garry Cowie said, “This is a great moment for Connor. He has taken on the world and acquitted himself honourably. Not many would have been able to show his cool professionalism. He is now an extremely talented craftsman and I am sure that he has a glittering career ahead of him.”

Dale Thomson, training manager at SNIPEF Training Services, added, “We are all very proud of Connor and his achievements at the WorldSkills final in Germany. Receiving a Medallion for Excellence is an outstanding feat, and Connor performed fantastically and gave it his all. He is an excellent ambassador for the plumbing and heating industry, and is an example to anyone considering a career in our industry.”