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A budding electrician has received high praise from judges at a national competition, coming runner-up despite having less than a day’s notice.
Kyle Hulks, an Electrical student at Canterbury College, defied the odds when he came second in the Sparks Learner of the Year Competition.
Firstly he was up against third year apprentices and electricians working professionally while they train, while he was just six months into his first year. Secondly, the student originally representing Canterbury College had to drop out less than 24 hours before the competition began in Aldershot.
Lecturer Bryn Homewood messaged Kyle hurriedly, recalling: “I told him ‘I don’t care how you get there, but we need you to do this.’”
When Kyle got there, he had what to the untrained eye seems like an uphill battle. He was shown a picture and a brief of what was expected, 10 minutes to discuss it with a lecturer, after which time he was on his own. By the end of the five hour deadline, He had set up a fuse board, an electrical switch loop, an eight-socket circuit with an outside socket, and an outside light with all the circuitry encased in trunking.
However Kyle is not an untrained eye, and he recalls: “When they handed me the brief I just thought ‘Well this is easy’.
“I think what I did differently to the other people there was that I tackled the sockets first, whereas they started on the easier and quicker parts.
“I finished with plenty of time left, so in the end I was just going over the connections and making sure everything was right.”
Despite his relative inexperience, the judges were overwhelmed by his talent and named him runner-up. On top of winning £100, he was also given a torch, a level, a hat and a t-shirt.
Kyle said: “I couldn’t believe it to be honest, especially as 24 hours earlier I wasn’t even going to be competing.”
Bryn noted: “The chief judge came up to me after and said it was incredible work for his age, even more so considering his short notice entry. He couldn’t stop telling me how impressed he was and said in the first ten minutes it was clear who was going to do well and Kyle was among that group.”
Kyle’s lecturer Peter Snider said: “These competitions are excellent because they give you excellent experience in working to a brief with a deadline, plus they’re great opportunities to network and look fantastic on your CV.
“I’m not surprised at all that Kyle’s done so well. In class he’s good natured, eager to hone his skills and really sees value in the integration of both the theoretical and practical sides of the work. Congratulations to him on this amazing achievement.”
Kyle has already begun working with an electrician on building sites in his spare time, however he one day hopes to be fully self-employed.