A YOUNG welder from Keighley is celebrating after striking gold in a national competition.

Harry Pullan was crowned the winner of WorldSkills UK.

The 23-year-old was among just ten welding apprentices from across the country who made it through to the finals of the contest, after excelling in regional heats.

Harry, a Keighley College apprentice who works for Byworth Boilers in the town, received the ultimate prize – the gold medal.

He said: "All I can say is that it was unreal to be able to compete, let alone win!

"I never thought I’d be quite good enough, but the support I received from the college, work, family and friends has helped massively and I cannot say ‘thank you’ enough.

"I’m very grateful for everyone around me, and work has been great – my boss and managers were congratulating me all morning when I got back!"

Harry – who is in the final year of his apprenticeship – adds that his college tutor, Adam Sutcliffe, was instrumental in giving him the self-belief to enter the competition.

Mr Sutcliffe says: "Harry is a cracking lad who fully deserves the win, and anything that might come as a result!

"He has worked hard ever since he started his apprenticeship with us just over four years ago, and myself and his previous tutors – Ash and Simon – are really chuffed for him.

"For a young man who is fairly quiet – and at one point, during the training for the previous round, told me he ‘wasn’t good enough’ – to settle into it, work hard and go on to win the title says so much about his attitude. He should be immensely proud of himself.

"It is moments like this that make the job worthwhile – seeing your students develop and achieve. This is a proud moment for Keighley College!"

In total, more than 400 of the country's top apprentices and students competed in the WorldSkills UK 2023 finals, which took place over several days at colleges, independent training providers and universities across Greater Manchester.

The finalists did battle in a number of categories, covering more than 50 industry skills – from digital construction, health and social care and additive manufacturing to metal fabrication and cyber security.

Apprentices at Keighley College, which is part of Luminate Education Group, received glowing praise from a Government minister in October.

Minister for Skills, Robert Halfon, paid tribute during a visit to the town when he took part in a round-table discussion at the college campus.