This year marked the 21st year that the United Association of Journeyman and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA) has held its International Apprenticeship Competition and Instructor Training Program (ITP).
The Copper Development Association (CDA) once again sponsored and judged the copper segment of the competition, as well as two 20-hour classes, which were taught by CDA project managers.
The copper installation segment of the apprenticeship competition was held over two days and tested the apprentices from the five different disciplines - HVAC, pipe fitting, plumbing, sprinkler fitting, and welding - on their ability to successfully apply multiple joining techniques to a complex copper assembly. These included traditional joining techniques like soldering and brazing; flameless joining methods like roll-grooved, push-to-fit and press-to fit systems; and additional fabrication methods including tube bends and T-drilled connections. All copper tubes and fittings for the competition were donated by CDA member companies.
Apprentices had four hours to assemble a top-secret copper system, and once done, their work was checked for accuracy, as well as a compressed air test to check for leaks on all joints. The winner of the HVAC competition was Joel Vigneaux of Local Union 72 in Atlanta. The winners of the copper portion of the contest received $1,000 and a commemorative trophy.
“Every year, we’re impressed with the skill displayed in the apprenticeship competition,” said Andy Kireta Jr., CDA’s vice president of building construction. “[CDA] always looks forward to participating with the UA program. It’s a pleasure dealing with the apprentices and instructors who take the time to participate, and the many, many hours in preparation honing their skills.”