A ‘DEDICATED’ teenager became the youngest qualified gas engineer in the UK at just 17 when he passed his exams just weeks shy of his 18th birthday.

Elliott Hawkes, now 18, had no desire to follow in his dad Graham’s footsteps to become a gas engineer. At 16 he wanted to become a mechanic and enrolled at Barnsley College to learn the trade. It was only when his dad suggested he complete a trial working as a gas engineer that Elliott realised he had a talent for the profession.

“My dad is the owner of a training centre where he trains up gas engineers,” said Elliott, of Greenside Lane, Hoyland. “When I was in school I never thought about being a gas engineer, but when I came to go to college and enrolled as a car mechanic I didn’t feel like I was passionate enough to go into that area. My dad suggested I try out gas engineering and I got really interested in it and realised that it’s what I want to do.”

Elliott trained to become a gas engineer and completed his Accredited Certification Scheme (ACS) qualifications in Sheffield just weeks shy of his 18th birthday, which made Elliott the youngest gas engineer in the country.

“The exams were really difficult,” added Elliott. “They were harder than my GCSEs and I passed them two weeks before I turned 18.

“I’m really proud of myself. I’ve been getting a lot of work since I qualified, I didn’t expect as much work to come through as quickly but I really enjoy what I do so I don't mind.”

Elliott works for Eco Gas Services, and despite being newly qualified he is already looking to the future and the progression of the industry.

“The government have said they want to eradicate gas usage in homes by 2050 to help with the environment so my job will change. I think we will be heading more towards renewable energy so in a few years I would like to look into that side of things. For now though, people are always wanting new boilers and gas to their property so I will be kept busy.”

Elliott’s dad, Graham, 60, runs the business ECS Gas Training Ltd which trains gas engineers. He said he had always hoped Elliott would follow in his footsteps but would support him no matter what he chose.

“When Elliott was 14 or 15 he didn’t show any interest in doing what I do. But once he tried the job he loved it and it was definitely a proud moment when he told me he loved it.

“He has really surprised me with the interest he has shown in the business and he has suggested that we start training in renewable energies in the future. Gas will see me out but Elliott is definitely forward thinking in that sense.

“I’m proud as punch for him. Not only does he love the job but to be the youngest qualified gas engineer is the cherry on the top.”