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Construction Awards July 7

Construction Award winners join York College '1% Club'

Congratulations to the dozen Construction students who were inducted into York College & University Centre’s very own “1% Club” last night.

With just 12 prizes up for grabs among a Construction Centre student population that is now 1,200 strong, award winners had to overcome odds of one in a hundred to be recognised at our 2023 Construction Awards Evening.

The achievement of prevailing in such circumstances was stressed by both our Principal Lee Probert and Head of Curriculum for Construction Ash Stokes at the annual ceremony, held at the Novotel York Centre.

For more than 30 years, we have been recognising the talents of our Construction students with the awards recognising those who embody the behaviour and values that define our college – Ambition, Care, Progression, Respect and Success.

Such qualities underpinned the decision to name Charlie Plevey and Abi-Casidi Harrop as the winners of our flagship Principal and Governors’ Awards.

Having previously been diagnosed with a learning disability, Charlie has not let that deter him from developing his Level Three Electrotechnical knowledge in an outstanding manner with Construction tutor and accessor Dean Leith, who nominated him for the award, adding: “Charlie is always a keen and enthusiastic contributor in Q&A activities and his determination and commitment has had a positive impact on his technical understanding.”

Abi, meanwhile. signalled her intention to become an engineer in the Armed Forces from the very first day of her T Level Design, Surveying & Planning studies and she has worked hard to ensure that ambition will be fulfilled with a Royal Navy apprenticeship now lined up for September.

Construction tutor Ian Walker, who nominated her for the award, said: “Abi is always fully engaged in tasks, conscientious and willing to act on feedback with an excellent work ethic. During site visits, she was always the first to raise her hand to ask a question and has proven a great role model for the rest of the group.”

Commenting on the achievements of all the night’s winners, Principal Lee Probert said: “It’s great to have this chance to celebrate the success of our students and, to be one of the 12 award winners from our 1,200 Construction students, is something to be truly proud of. It also signals the future potential in this room.

“All our award winners will leave us with a set of skills that will always be part of them and that they can use for the rest of their lives, whilst also developing them and adding new ones.”

A time lapse video was shown during the evening of the rapid progress that is being made on the building of our Construction Centre extension.

Ahead of the award presentation, guest speaker Emma Simpson also spoke about her career in bricklaying that has spanned more than 30 years after embarking on a change in vocational path trodden by few people, having studied English Literature at university.

She described how, after attending courses in carpentry, plastering and bricklaying before going on to earn an NVQ in the latter, she launched her own conservation business in 2003 and has since worked on a variety of structures including royal palaces and ancient monuments.

Given an MBE for Services to Heritage Conservation last year, Surrey-based Emma referred to her links with York, where the Simpson family ran a successful plumbing business on Clarence Street for many years.

She, therefore, admitted that speaking at the Awards was a great honour, as the ceremony combined two of her biggest loves - the world of construction and the city of York.

Her best bit of advice to our talented students, meanwhile, was that given to her by her own father – “if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well”.

Here is the full list of all the other outstanding students, whose excellence was recognised on the night:

Most Determined Apprentice Student Award (sponsored by William Birch): MARCUS DEIGHTON

Through hard work, drive and dedication, Marcus has produced work of the very highest standard during the second year of his bricklaying apprenticeship, leading to him being put forward for a SkillBuild competition and taking his End Point Assessment exams two months early. His skill levels and knowledge has led to him mentoring other learners in the practical workshop and he has a clear intent to become a top-class bricklayer and tradesperson.

Contribution to College Life & Community Apprentice Award (sponsored by Michelmersh Brick Specialists): MOLLY SIXSMITH

Molly has a long successful career as a joiner ahead of her with the quality, accuracy and finish to her practical work always notable. She has a determination to deliver industry standard work and her commitment to the course has been seen by her hour-long commutes each way to attend college punctually and on an ever-present basis.

Inclusivity & Student Role Model Apprentice Award (sponsored by North Yorkshire Construction Training Group): JAMIE SCOTT

Mature Level 4 Site Supervisor Apprenticeship student Jamie also studies the HNC in Construction & the Built Environment as part of his course. Following a lengthy break from formal education and having joined the programme with very limited IT skills, Jamie has learned word processing, PDF, Computer Aided Design and Revit skills and even given presentations using PowerPoint. With a 100 per cent attendance and punctuality record, he has achieved Distinction grades in every unit – a truly outstanding and faultless performance.

Outstanding Achievement Apprentice Award (sponsored by Judge Electrical): MATTHEW TINSLEY

Having left the Prison Service, Matthew decided to pursue a career as a Heritage Mason with Stone Central via the Historic England programme. His excellent stone-carving skills are evident in the lettering and gilding of a College sign based in the Construction & Skills Centre. With an interest in history, he is planning to carve the figure of deposed 1066 King Harold in stone and his ambition is to be employed by one of the UK’s Cathedral workshops.

Most Determined Full-time Student Award (sponsored by Ben Johnson Interiors): MERHAWI ZERU

With a 100 per cent attendance record, Merhawi is an ambitious student who, despite barriers presented by English not being his first language, has proven himself as one of the most capable and hardest practical workers in the class.

Contribution to College Life & Community Full-time Student Award (sponsored by Hobson & Porter): ARRON PARSONS

Often used to demonstrate peer work to the rest of the class, Arron has a good grasp of all plumbing aspects. His exam results so far are: Health & Safety 83%, Electrical 85%, Science 62.5%, Processes 82.5%, Cold Water 70%, Hot water 82.5% and Heating 77.5%.

Inclusivity & Full-time Student Role Model Award (sponsored by Persimmon Homes Ltd): CHRISTIAN HAINSWORTH

Christian has proven himself a trustworthy student who is always willing to help over the past two years. He works hard to complete work on time and is always polite and respectful to his peers and members of staff.

Outstanding Achievement Full-time Student Award (sponsored by John Wright Electrical): ROBBIE CRAWFORD

Robbie’s standard of work is exceptionally high and he also carries out the basics exceptionally well. He turns up on time with the right equipment and has an excellent attitude for work.

York Guild of Building Bronze Award: THOMAS RICHARDSON

An all-round good apprentice, Thomas’ 100% effort level is reflected in the quality of work he produces. He is always willing to assist fellow classmates and has worked in collaboration with other students to collect portfolio evidence.

York Guild of Building Silver Award: ROSIE BAMBER

With a determined outlook, Rosie has high ambitions for her future painting and decorating career. She was also submitted for the SkillBuild Competition, having shown strong promise in the required tasks.

All photographs have been taken by David Harrison. To order reprints and view his gallery of this event as well as others he has captured for York College & University Centre, please click here