14:26 PM

Plumbing apprentices sweep award category at ABC of Wisconsin Skill Competition


For 30 years, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin has held the ABC of Wisconsin Skill Competition, which showcases the skills of top carpentry, electrical, HVAC and plumbing apprentices in the state.

This year, three WCTC Plumbing apprenticeship students took home honors at the Jan. 31 competition, held at Washington County Fair Park in West Bend, Wis. WCTC winners included: First place -- Caleb Warnke, Erspamer Plumbing; second place -- Kristian Entwistle, Water Works Plumbing Co; and third place -- Alexander Sadler, Dave Jones Inc. First-place finisher Warnke will advance to the ABC National Craft Championships in Nashville in March.

In total, 40 apprentices (including nine plumbing apprentices) participated in the competition, which involved completing a two-hour written test and a four-hour practical exam. For the plumbing hands-on component, each apprentice was given the same number of materials--such as pipes and fittings--along with a plan to complete the task.

The plumbing category was open to third-, fourth- and fifth-year apprentices. The Plumbing Registered Apprenticeship program in the state is a five-year commitment that includes approximately 7,500 hours of on-the-job training with 500+ hours of paid-related and additional instruction. Ken Dickerson, a Plumbing apprenticeship instructor at WCTC, said in-class training complements the work apprentices do on the job.

“The paid-related instruction we provide at WCTC is a fast-paced, progressive learning environment backed by theory,” Dickerson said. “This style of learning meshes with their daily on-the-job training perfectly, creating very high-level apprentices.”

The training students receive through their employer and in class is preparing them well for their careers, and the skills competition is one way they can demonstrate what they are learning.

“We’re proud of all the competitors who are passionate about their trades and come out and take advantage of this unique career opportunity, said John Mielke, president of ABC Contractors of Wisconsin.

Learn more about the Plumbing apprenticeship, with paid-related and other instruction at WCTC.