Award Crest
York College

12th April 2016

Portakabin lead the way with Apprenticeships

Portakabin, the York based modular and portable building company, has an award-winning apprenticeship scheme, one of which is delivered by York College, which gives young people access to training and knowledge, allowing them to maximise their potential.


In 2015, Portakabin was named York’s Apprenticeship Large Employer of the Year, as well as the Yorkshire & Humberside National Apprenticeship Service Large Employer of the Year. Its success is testament to the positive relationship between the company and York College and regular communication with College tutors, which allows Portakabin to keep track of apprentices’ progress.

Martin Kennedy, Production & Logistics Trainer at Portakabin, was named the City & Guilds Yorkshire & Humberside Apprenticeship Champion of the Year in 2015. As a former apprentice himself, Martin knows how effective they are. He says: “Good apprentices bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the business and help to develop our highly motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. Our Apprenticeship Scheme ensures Portakabin has the continuity of skills needed to keep the business going, as well as keeping up to date with new skills to secure the future of the business.” 

Harry Ellis (formerly of Easingwold School) is a joiner with Portakabin, having studied Site Carpentry at York College. Harry works in the company’s Joinery Shop carrying out general bench joinery work, including cabinetry, doorsets and multiple sub assembly work. Demonstrating a comprehensive skill-set and embracing all opportunities presented to him by his employer he was awarded 2015 Portakabin Apprentice of the Year (from the 2012 intake) and was a finalist at the York Apprentice of the Year Awards 2015.

During his training Harry has also produced work in the local community; designing and making a traditional door for St Andrew’s Church in Huntington. He said: “I realised it would be a huge task but I thought it would be a great chance to put into practice some of the skills I had learnt.”

To complete the project, Harry made several site visits to survey the doorframe and discuss designs and materials with the church. He also learned CAD drawing skills to design the door before making and installing the joints, door itself and glazing.

Harry said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the whole project, from learning new skills to enhancing my traditional joinery skills. I was very proud at the end of the project, knowing that this was my finest work while working for Portakabin.”

Harry now wants to mentor other apprentices so that he can pass on everything he learned during his own apprenticeship.

He said: “An apprenticeship gives you skills for life that no one can ever take away from you… and you get paid to do it!”

Related Links

Wood Occupations (Site Joinery and Bench Joinery) Apprenticeship

Construction Department


27th November 2015

York College Bricklaying Apprentice Wins Bronze at World Skills UK Final

Congratulations to bricklaying apprentice Thomas Macdonald on winning a Bronze medal in the final of the WorldSkills UK Skills 2015 competition at the Skills Show, held at the NEC in Birmingham.  Thomas was also awarded the Peter Vickers award for best work ethic in the competition.  He is now one of 150 young people who are one step closer to taking on the world’s best as a member of Squad UK in the first stage of the WorldSkills competition – the final of which will be in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

Tom MacDonald - credit The PressWEB

Photo credit: The Press

Thomas, aged 19, formerly of Huntington School, is a CITB bricklaying apprentice at Woodhouse & Barry Construction in Sheriff Hutton. He said: “I’m so happy to have won the medal and to be selected for Squad UK. My employer is very pleased too. During the competition I thought I was in with a chance because my speed was there - finishing the task in 18 hours, instead of the full 19 hours. It’s crazy to think that when I next start my training I will be aiming to represent Squad UK at WorldSkills Abu Dhabi in 2107.”

Thomas holding shieldWEB

Kevin Clancy, Head of Construction at York College said: “We are very proud of Thomas’ achievement, he is an excellent role model for all our students. We hope he will follow in the footsteps of York College stonemasonry apprentice Sam Turner who won the bronze medal at the World Skills final in Sao Paolo, Brazil, in August this year.”


Dr Neil Bentley, Chief Executive of Find a Future, which manages the UK’s entry into the WorldSkills competition, said: “Congratulations to every young person who has secured a place in Squad UK at The Skills Show 2015. By competing in the WorldSkills Competition, the UK is able to share best practice in apprenticeships, further education and skills with countries around the world, raising standards on a global scale.”

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “The young people who have earned a place on Squad UK are worthy ambassadors and demonstrate how high quality apprenticeships and technical training can be a fast-track to a top career.”


Further Employers/Apprenticeships News Stories

York College Bricklaying Apprentice Wins Bronze at World Skills UK Final (27th November 2015)

Apprentice of the Year Titles for Two York College Students (23rd November 2015)

Helping Businesses to Consider International Trading (19th November 2015)

Construction Business Breakfast Is A Winner (21st October 2015)

Twin Joinery Apprentices Appointed to Work on York's Finest Residential Development (2nd October 2015)

York College Celebrates National Apprenticeship Week (10th March 2015)

Construction Apprentice Works on College's new Construction Skills Centre (30th January 2015)


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