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Local construction and manufacturing apprentices’ achievements celebrated

09 February 2024
Speakers and apprentices from Apprentice of the Year Awards
Apprentices and speakers at the awards ceremony

Outstanding local construction and manufacturing apprentices have been recognised for their skills and high standards demonstrated in their efforts and achievements at an awards ceremony held as part of Plymouth’s National Apprenticeship Week 2024.

The Apprentice of the Year Awards were presented jointly by Building Plymouth and the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group (PMG), with nominations submitted by local construction and manufacturing employers and training providers, with the awards recognising 45 talented finalist and winning apprentices who were celebrated at the ceremony held at Market Hall, Devonport.

Introducing the awards ceremony, Councillor Sally Cresswell, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Apprenticeships at Plymouth City Council said: “It is fitting to be holding this celebration in National Apprenticeship Week 2024 with the theme ‘Skills for Life,’ a good chance to reflect on how the opportunity to ‘earn while you learn’ can help both young people to start their career journey and adults to change career direction. Today’s apprentice awards truly represent the very best of achievement in two of Plymouth’s high growth sectors: construction and the built environment, and manufacturing and engineering. This important week and our Awards today, presents us with a great platform to shine a light on the amazing opportunities that an apprenticeship brings to employers, individuals and the economy. I thank all our local employers and training providers who continue to invest and support our apprentices. I am delighted to be able to share a personal congratulations to everyone celebrated.”

During the celebration, Daniel Alford was presented the highly respected Ron Simmonds Construction Trade Apprentice of the Year 2024 Award. Being recognised through his successful Level 3 Installation and Maintenance Electrician apprenticeship with ME Contracting Ltd and The Focus Training Group, Daniel said: “From first meeting my employer ME Contracting at the Building Plymouth Early Careers Fair in 2022 to today, I’ve really enjoyed my apprenticeship hands-on experience and training provided by Focus Training. Thank you for the recognition and I hope winning this award provides a springboard for my career.”

Next up, Elijah Bennett was awarded the prestigious Building Plymouth Technical Apprentice of the Year 2024 Award. Employed by the innovative service Shared Apprenticeships and hosted by Kier Construction with Exeter College, undertaking a Level 4 Construction Site Supervisor apprenticeship, on winning the award Elijah said: “Thank you for the award, it is an honour to be recognised. Thank you to both Kier Construction and Shared Apprentices for support during my apprenticeship journey. I look forward to the future and developing within my career.”

Presenting the construction apprentice awards, Nikki Griffiths, Partner at WWA and Vice- 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.”

For 2024, 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 and presented the awards to the winners and finalists. Jim commented,

“Through the nominations process, we heard about the dedication that these apprentices have towards their apprenticeships, their companies and their colleagues, which is hugely reassuring for the growth and development of the manufacturing industry. While we especially congratulate the winners, we must applaud all the finalists for their hard work and passion for our sector which is why, once again, I am delighted to support the PMG Apprentice of the Year Awards and celebrate our industry’s future talent in this way.”

The first award was presented to Kane Garside, a Procurement and Supply Chain Apprentice at Babcock who won the PMG Business Rising Star Apprentice of the Year Award. Kane was delighted and said “I am incredibly honoured and grateful to have won the Business Best Rising Star Apprentice Award. This recognition means a lot to me and I am truly grateful for the opportunities and support, given by the Supply Chain Function at Babcock, that have led me to this point. Thank you for believing in me and helping me grow as a Supply Chain professional. I am excited for what the future holds and I am grateful to be recognized as a rising star in the business world!”

For 2024, it was impossible to differentiate between the strongest of the nominations for the PMG Manufacturing Final Year Apprentice of the Year Award and two joint winners were declared. They were Abbie Tucker of BD and Emily Taylor of Babcock. Abbie Tucker completed her Engineering Technician Level 3 - Mechatronics Standard with Cornwall College in October 2023. Abbie has also been recognised by BD globally for creating an injection mould manual which is now being utilised worldwide! Abbie said of her win: “Thank you to my employer BD for the recognition for this award. Proud to have won apprentice of the year and excited for the next chapter in my career within engineering.”

The next Joint Winner was Emily Taylor, who is currently in the Final Year of her Level 4 Engineering Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship with City College Plymouth. Emily reflected on her win and said, “I am extremely proud to have jointly won the Plymouth Manufacturing Group (PMG) Best Final Year Manufacturing Apprentice. I am grateful for the opportunities I have taken through Babcock and thank the Early Careers team and my department for giving me an amazing start to my engineering career. I am excited to continue encouraging future generations of engineers whilst maintaining my own professional development. Plymouth is fortunate to have PMG as a fantastic network and continued growth in the sector is assured with their support in apprenticeship programmes.  I am privileged to have been a part of this inspiring community in Plymouth.”

Karen Friendship, Managing Director at Aldermans and Chair of the Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group said of the winners and finalists: “As I employ apprentices and I know the huge pride we feel when we see them grow, not just in their abilities but also in their confidence in our companies.  Plymouth is one of the UK’s Top Ten Cities with the largest concentration of manufacturing employment. And our sector contributes a higher than average percentage to Plymouth’s economy – which means our apprentices, are also critical to the economic growth and future success of our city and local area. These awards are a significant way to show them that we recognise their endeavours, their importance in our businesses and that we are, in turn, committed to them.”

At the awards ceremony, these 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.

All the apprentices recognised at the awards:

Building Plymouth Apprentices 2024 – Trade and Technical

Winner – The Ron Simmonds Trade of Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Daniel Alford with ME Contracting Ltd and The Focus Training Group undertaking a Level 3 Installation and Maintenance Electrician apprenticeship.

Highly Commended – The Ron Simmonds Trade Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Jake Smith with Western Counties Roofing and Greenlight Safety and Training, undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Roofing- Slater/Tiler apprenticeship
  • Ysabella Payn with The Bell Group and City College Plymouth, undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Painter and Decorator apprenticeship

Finalists – The Ron Simmonds Trade Apprentice of the Year 2024:

  • Adam Burford with LS Plastering and Building Limited and Greenlight Safety and Training, undertaking a Level 2 Plastering apprenticeship
  • Amy Dannan with New Barton Contracts Limited and Greenlight Safety and Training undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Interior Systems Installer apprenticeship
  • Andrei Avasiloaie with Classic Builders and Skills Group undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Groundworks apprenticeship
  • Charlie Parker with Simon Brown Roofing and Greenlight Training undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Roofing Apprenticeship – Slate and Tile
  • Connor McKay with Plymouth Community Homes and Greenlight Safety and Training undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Plastering apprenticeship
  • David Clifton with TEC Construction and City College Plymouth undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Carpentry apprenticeship
  • Ellie King with LiveWest and The Focus Training Group undertaking an Advanced Level 3 Electrotech apprenticeship
  • George Anderson with DB Heating Ltd and City College Plymouth undertaking an Advanced Level 3 Plumbing and Domestic heating Technician apprenticeship
  • Jack Glanville with Shopfitting by SWS Ltd and Greenlight Safety and Training undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Carpentry & Joinery - Site Carpenter apprenticeship
  • Jessica Dustan with Daniel Bowskill and South Devon College undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Bricklaying apprenticeship
  • Josh Hughes with Haybrook Heating and The Focus Training Group undertaking an Advanced Level 3 Gas Engineer apprenticeship
  • Lewis Chapman with TEC Construction and City College Plymouth undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Carpentry apprenticeship
  • Lewis Round with Stormforce Roofing and South Devon College undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Roofing apprenticeship
  • Lewis Smith with Obedair Ltd and City College Plymouth undertaking an Advanced Level 3 Carpentry apprenticeship
  • Luke Mason  with WF Carpentry/Cornwall Timber Build and Greenlight Safety and Training undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Carpentry and Joinery – site carpentry apprenticeship
  • Matthew Harvey with Award Plastering Ltd and Greenlight Safety and Training undertaking an Intermediate level 2 Interior Systems Installer apprenticeship
  • Rowan David with TEC Construction and City College Plymouth undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Carpentry apprenticeship
  • Travis James with Hallwell Projects Ltd and Skills Group undertaking an Intermediate Level 2 Bricklaying apprenticeship
  • Tyler Coombes with TEC Construction and City College Plymouth undertaking an Advanced Level 3 Carpentry apprenticeship

Winner – Building Plymouth Technical Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Elijah Bennett with Shared Apprenticeship Service and hosted by Kier Construction with Exeter College, undertaking a Level 4 Construction Site Supervisor apprenticeship

Highly Commended – Building Plymouth Technical Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Lily Frewin with Morgan Sindall and South Devon College , undertaking a Higher Level 4 Construction Site Supervisor apprenticeship
  • Harison Elliot with Currie and Brown and UWE Bristol, undertaking a Degree Apprenticeship Level 6 in Quantity Surveying and Commercial Management

Plymouth Manufacturers’ Group Apprentices of the Year Finalists and Winners 2024

Winner, PMG Rising Star Business Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Kane Garside of Babcock, Procurement and Supply Chain Apprentice at High Ridge Training

Winner, PMG Final Year Business Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Cassidy Blake of Burts Snacks, a Digital Marketing Executive training with City College Plymouth.

Highly Commended, PMG Final Year Business Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Lucy Wood, Learning & Development Co-ordinator, training with South Devon College

Award Finalist, PMG Final Year Business Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Lois Randle, Collins Aerospace, Service Delivery Partner Apprentice, with Focus Training Group

Winner, PMG Rising Star Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Edward Pusey of BD, Facilities Technician Apprentice with Plymouth Engineering Skills Centre (Cornwall College)

Highly Commended, PMG Rising Star Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Kieren O’Donnell of Alstom, Industrial Engineering Apprentice training with Aston University and Alstom

Award Finalists, PMG Rising Star Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Adam Foster from BD,an Apprentice Moulding Technician, training with Cornwall College.
  • Adam Price from Schneider Electric, an Electrical Manufacturing Engineer Apprenticewith City College Plymouth.
  • Dylan Gorrin from Sotek Engineering, a CNC Machinist Apprentice with South Devon College.
  • Leo Marshall from Babcock,a CNC Manufacturing Apprentice with City College Plymouth
  • Luke Bonner from Centrax Limited , an Engineering Apprentice with Exeter College.
  • Tansy McIntyre from Lang & Potter, an Apprentice Upholster with South Devon College.
  • Tyler Simmons from Lang & Potter, an Apprentice Upholster with South Devon College.

Joint Winners, PMG Final Year Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Abbie Tucker from BD, an Apprentice Technician with Cornwall College.
  • Emily Taylor from Babcock, a Higher Level Mechanical Apprentice, with City College Plymouth.

Award Finalists, PMG Final Year Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year 2024

  • Henry Richards from Plessey,a Coring Technician who trained with City College Plymouth.
  • Samuel Frankham from BD who trained as an Apprentice Metrologist with Cornwall College.
  • Tierney Simmons from Lang & Potterwho trained as an Apprentice Upholsterer with South Devon College.
  • Tommy Lewis from Lang & Potterwho trained as an Apprentice Upholsterer with South Devon College.