This year's winner of the UK's most prestigious national welder competition SkillWeld is 20-year-old Joe Cosgrove from Hartlepool Doosan Power Systems.
Joe demonstrated outstanding skill in welding to complete three challenging testpieces in carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium using a combination of manual metal arc (MMA), tungsten inert gas (TIG) and metal active gas (MAG) techniques. Joe becomes the 11th UK SkillWeld Champion.
Joe said: 'I'm very pleased to be the winner. The competition was very enjoyable and I recommend it to others.'
Joe was among the ten highest scoring competitors from the regional semi-finals to reach the three-day final of the Air Products supported SkillWeld 2012 competition held at TWI, Cambridge.
Second place went to Alistair Wilson aged 19 from Tillicoultry Clackmannanshire and third place to Ryan Smith aged 20 from Belper Derbyshire
The finalists were observed by the judging team marking them at world skills criteria level as they made their testpieces. The judges examined 26 elements on the carbon steel pipe, 14 elements for the aluminium welded piece and 11 for the stainless steel piece.
Jon Pearsall, who led the judging team, said: 'The skill level of the competitors is up this year - no question. It's what this competition is all about - to show up first-class talent and in our opinion everyone who took part in this national final, is a winner.'
Colin Kennedy, welding expert at Air Products in the UK, who assisted in judging along the journey of the competition, commented: 'This year's competition has been very exciting indeed and it is great to see so many trainees from across the UK demonstrating their welding talent. They are all great ambassadors for their craft and we hope that their achievement will inspire others to consider a career in welding in the future. As a qualified welder myself, I know that welding skills can open the door to great careers in diverse industries, from the oil and gas industry to metal fabrication.'
For more information about the SkillWeld visit www.airproducts.co.uk/skillweld/.