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Celebrating local construction and manufacturing apprentices

09 February 2023

Outstanding local construction and manufacturing apprentices have been recognised for their efforts and abilities at an awards ceremony held as part of Plymouth’s National Apprenticeship Week 2023.

The Awards were presented jointly by Building Plymouth and the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group (PMG), with nominations submitted by local employers and training providers, with nearly 40 finalist apprentices celebrated and 17 overall winners presented top awards.

All the award winners with speakers including Cllr Charlotte Carlyle

Lucy Edwards was awarded the prestigious Building Plymouth Construction Technical Apprentice of the Year 2023. Lucy is undertaking a Higher Level 4 in Construction Quantity Surveying Technician with Ian Williams and City College Plymouth.

On winning her award Lucy Edwards said: “This was such an exciting opportunity. It was a privilege to have been nominated and I was so proud to have received the award.I am looking forward to using this platform to be an ambassador for apprenticeships and also to promote diversity for the industry as a whole."

David Mears was next up, winning the highly respected Ron Simmonds Construction Trade Apprentice of the Year 2023 Award. David is undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 in Bricklaying with Persimmon Homes Cornwall and West Devon and City College Plymouth.

David Mears said: “I feel very honoured to receive the Apprentice of the Year award and I’m very proud of what I have achieved so far during my apprenticeship. I thoroughly enjoy working for Persimmon Homes and I’m looking forward to developing my skills and gaining further experience, so I can become a qualified and competent tradesman.”

David was nominated by Andy Wallis, Regional Apprenticeship Manager at Persimmon Homes, who said: “I’m absolutely delighted that David has been recognised as Trade Apprentice of the Year for Building Plymouth. David has worked exceptionally hard and overcome many challenges to get to this point and he should be proud of his achievements. I’m looking forward to supporting David for the remainder of his apprenticeship and future career with Persimmon Homes.”

For 2023, the PMG Apprentice of the Year Awards were sponsored by Make UK, of which Jim Davison, Make UK’s Region Director for the South of England was on the judging panel. The judges commented that amongst the nominations, there were apprentices who had transitioned with enthusiasm from a previous career, showed willingness to learn, some had taken on extra responsibilities, acted as ambassadors for their business and supported others, some received numerous endorsements, portrayed exemplary professional attitudes, and consistently exceeded expectations. It was therefore sometimes difficult to differentiate between such strong nominations and they applauded all the finalists’ passion for the manufacturing industry.

The first of the PMG Apprentice Awards was that of the Business Rising Star Apprentice for 2023 – which went to Nicola Mundy of Babcock. Nicola is training as a Higher Level Quality Assurance Apprentice with Capella and said: “It is such an honour to be entered into the awards. To be recognised by management to be worthy of being entered into the awards and then to win, feels like a great achievement and I am very grateful to be recognised for the effort I am putting into my apprenticeship. I feel very proud to be undertaking an apprenticeship at Babcock. The opportunities available to me and my learning experiences so far have been amazing and I am excited to progress within my role.”

Also from Babcock is the Winner of the PMG Final Year Business Apprentice of the Year Award, Laura Stephens, who is a Supply Chain Apprentice training with the ATN Group. 

Gemma Selley, Executive Lead for the PMG, said: “Babcock is our PMG member with the largest number of employees in Plymouth. For Nicola and Laura to be nominated and win, is a credit to their hard work and shows just how much they have stood out to their colleagues and managers. Congratulations to Nicola and Laura!”

Moving onto the Manufacturing Rising Star Awards, there were incredibly strong nominations and ultimately Matt Pope of Schneider Electric was chosen as Winner in this category. Matt is a Mechanical Manufacturing Apprentice training with City College, Plymouth.

Paul Pady, Schneider’s Manufacturing Engineering Manager said of Matt’s win: “We’re incredibly proud of Matt – it’s so important to recognise the achievements and hard work of our apprentices. At this point in my career, to see a legacy of burgeoning brilliant talent coming through is highly meaningful and fills us with optimism for the future.”

Matt Pope commented on his win saying “I was really honoured to have been nominated let alone win! The team at Schneider has been very supportive in my professional development – there’s so much happening in our industry, adapting to new technology and methods, so I’m really looking forward to an exciting future in manufacturing.”

For the PMG Final Year Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year Awards, the judges declared two joint winners: Chloe Tremayne Payne of Mars Wrigley and Stephen Tillyer of BD.

Chloe, a Shift Mechanic who is training with Cornwall College said of her win, “It was an honour to be a joint winner for the apprentice of the year awards. I have strong sense of pride in my work at Mars Wrigley and it feels amazing to know that it doesn’t go unnoticed. It has given me the motivation to carry on striving to do the best and seek improvement opportunities to help carry on progressing in my career. Being an apprentice at Mars Wrigley has given me the opportunities to be able to win this award and I couldn’t have done it without my mentors and engineering team”.

Stephen, a Moulding Apprentice who is also training with Cornwall College, commented: “To be a manufacturing apprentice at BD, means to work in an environment in which your development is encouraged and supported through the many learning opportunities that present themselves. I’m extremely grateful to have been nominated for the award - to be recognised by my mentors and leaders at work means a lot to me and is a huge accomplishment on its own.

"I’m therefore very honoured to have been awarded the Manufacturing Final Year Apprentice of the Year title as a joint winner. I am very appreciative as it is such an important accomplishment for me on my apprenticeship journey. I look forward to one day being in a position that I can support and be a role model for the future generation of apprentices at BD.”

Introducing the apprentice awards ceremony, Councillor Charlotte Carlyle, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Children and Young People at Plymouth City Council said: “It has been incredibly inspiring to watch all the finalist and winning apprentices collect their awards. Inspirational to see such an array of different backgrounds, yet united under the banner of being apprentices, all working hard towards their futures. Through investment in apprenticeships, the individuals, employers and economy all win, with Plymouth ever growing to deliver a skilled future workforce.”     

Karen Friendship, Managing Director at Aldermans and Chair of the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group said: “After two years of virtual award presentations due to Covid, the PMG is delighted that we have once again been able to come together to hold a physical event to celebrate our apprentices during National Apprenticeship Week. 

"From the time of our first awards, we have learnt that when an apprentice is nominated, it is a huge morale boost for them. They tell us they are absolutely thrilled that their employer took the time to consider who should be nominated and put them forward for the awards. It is our role, as managers, to champion the talent in our companies and recognise our apprentices’ hard-work and passion for our sector – after all we are looking to them to be future leaders in our businesses. This is why these awards are so important.

"Therefore on behalf of the PMG, I would like to convey huge congratulations to our award winners, commended nominees and finalists and express our thanks to our members for helping to create pride in our industry. We wish all our apprentices the most enriching of futures!”

Presenting the construction apprentice awards, David Bayliss, Regional Director at Stride Treglown and Chair of Building Plymouth said: “I was delighted and honoured to be able to present the awards to the outstanding Apprentices we have in the local Construction and Built Environment industry. It is great to see such a diverse range of skills being recognised and the pride everyone showed in winning their awards. It certainly felt that the industry is in a good place and is attracting such talented people to build their careers in a fantastic diverse range of roles. Building Plymouth has championed the various pathways to the work environment through many different routes and this is testament to its success in promoting construction as a career of choice.”

At the awards ceremony, the Finalist, Highly Commended and Winning construction and manufacturing apprentices were all celebrated for their success and commended for the high standards they have shown in their achievements and skills developed during their apprenticeships. 

To find out more about securing an apprenticeship in Plymouth and to download the latest Vacancy Bulletin visit www.skillslaunchpadplym.co.uk/youth-hub-apprenticeship.