Apprentice of the Year national finalists 2023

Congratulations to the regional and devolved nations' winners of the 2023 Apprentice of the Year award who will now go on to compete in the National Master Builder Awards on 22 September. Check out the full list of national finalists below and learn more about these amazing apprentices.

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Central Apprentice of the Year - Seth Barton of Neways Group Ltd

2023 Central Apprentice of the Year Award - Seth Andrew Hoskin Barton of Neways Group Ltd

Since joining Neways Group Ltd as a labourer and assistant at the age of 16, Seth Barton has shown incredible resilience to overcome significant obstacles in undertaking his carpentry apprenticeship training with City College Norwich. His immigration status initially proved a barrier to entry into the industry, with many prospective employers dismissing him outright.

Finally given a chance by this Master Builder company, Seth has maintained a 100% attendance rate in his classes despite travelling significantly further than his peers and shown great enthusiasm in deploying the skills he has learned whilst on-site. He has already won his employer more work by suggesting to a client that leftover materials from a renovation project be fashioned into bespoke furniture and demonstrated real ambition; aspiring to become a company director within five years.

Find out more about Neways Group Ltd.

Cymru Apprentice of the Year - Jordan Gay of Bluestone Builders Ltd

2023 Cymru MBAs, Apprentice of the Year Jordan Gay of Bluestone Builders Ltd 2000px

Described by his manager as ‘an ordinary boy applying himself rather extraordinarily’, Jordan has impressed his employer at Bluestone Builders Ltd from day one, having never been late and maintaining a pleasant manner and fine work ethic.

Having achieved qualifications in joinery, carpentry and joinery and site carpentry, he has gone on to apply his knowledge on site with exceptional attention to detail, and is now trusted to take on and complete projects well beyond the scope of his current learning program. He has shown ambition and intrapersonal intelligence beyond his years, with a ‘can-do’ attitude to all the challenges that come his way.

The judges were impressed by Jordan’s positive approach, recognising him as an ‘asset to [his] employer’ and a ‘very good role model’.

Find out more about Bluestone Builders Ltd.

London Apprentice of the Year - Joseph Powell of McLoughlin Decorating Limited

2023 London MBAs, Apprentice of the Year, Joseph Powell of McLoughlin Decorating Limited 2000px

With an exemplary attendance record at his college and glowing reports from his tutors, Joseph has accumulated qualifications across tens of fields including the likes of working at heightfire safety awarenesswallpapering and waste disposal – to name but a few.

His peers describe him as a pleasure to work with, and his employer states that his 'first class attitude' and desire to succeed sets him apart as a "disciplined and capable individual". He is a valued member of McLoughlin Decorating's Health and Safety Committee, as well as their Apprenticeship Champion, a role which sees him mentor new apprentices, giving them support and encouragement and leading by fine example.

Find out more about McLoughlin Decorating Limited.

Northern Ireland Apprentice of the Year - Matthew Graham of Rahoran Ltd

2023 NI MBAs, Apprentice of the Year - Matthew Graham of Rahoran Ltd 2000px

Due to complete his joinery apprenticeship in early 2024, Mathew has impressed his employer with a willingness to take on and succeed with a wide range of challenges in both residential and commercial jobs.  

He has successfully completed training in the use of forward-tipping dumper trucks, and has learned how to put up stud walls, joists, roofing and door frames. He also found great joy in wall panelling, and following his mentor’s instruction, he can now complete jobs with a level of accuracy and eye for detail that is described as ‘second to none’. 

Having developed an excellent working relationship with his mentor, Mathew has already roofed his first house and is described as ‘extremely trustworthy... polite and courteous’. He can be relied upon to adapt to and perform well in any environment, and frequently steps in to support other members of the Rahoran team in their work. 

The judges praised Mathew as a ‘hard-working, talented apprentice who demonstrates a love of learning new skills’. 

Find out more about Rahoran Ltd.

North West Apprentice of the Year - Rhys Barber of Cheshire Building and Joinery Ltd

North West Apprentice of the Year - Rhys Barber of Cheshire Building and Joinery Ltd

Rhys recently completed a Level Three Joinery City and Guilds with Macclesfield College. He joined Cheshire Building and Joinery Ltd in January 2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, Rhys has impressed his employers with his commitment to learning. He continued his studies through the college closures, with no access to tutors or support staff and with limited support from his employers. 

Rhys's team has praised his strong work ethic. They haven’t held back with throwing him in at the deep end – he’s gained experience in completing cut roofs, building wardrobes, installing kitchens, skirts, and hanging doors. He has also supported his team when other people have been affected by COVID-19, stepping in and showing his willingness to help out. 

The comments from his team speak for themselves: ‘I feel confident leaving him on his own, he has great skills with the clients we have and all we ever hear is good positive feedback.’ They added: ‘He has picked a career that he's an expert in and we are proud to have him on our team. We can't wait to celebrate his success in the future.’ 

Find out more about Cheshire Building and Joinery Ltd.  

Northern Counties Apprentice of the Year - Kaidan Bradley Radford of Radford Construction Services Ltd

Northern Counties Apprentice of the Year - Kaidan Bradley Radford of Radford Construction Services Ltd

Currently in the second year of his bricklaying apprenticeship at Derwentside College, Kaidan impressed our judging panel with his application to learning – setting termly targets to complete the qualification sooner than scheduled, without lowering his individual standards. He also has a track record of excellence, having been awarded ‘Apprentice of the Year’ by his college tutors at New College, Durham where he achieved an NVQ Diplomas in Building Maintenance Multi-Trade Repair and Refurbishment Operations (Construction). 

Undaunted by personal challenges including autism, dyslexia and dyspraxia, the team at Radford Construction Services Ltd told us Kaiden has never deterred from what he wants to achieve in both his private and professional life. Kaiden is a valuable member of their team who has an attentive and thorough approach to learning and does not settle for less, always aiming for the higher grades of merit and distinction. He also gives back to the wider community, using his own experiences to mentor children with additional needs. 

Find out more about Radford Construction Services Ltd

Scotland Apprentice of the Year - Noah Archibald of Haldane Construction Services Ltd

2023 Scotland MBAs, Apprentice of the Year, Noah Archibald of Haldane Construction Services Ltd v3

Now in the final year of his General Construction Operative SCQF Level 5 apprenticeship, Noah has impressed from day one, having now worked two years full time at Haldane Construction and serving as an intern prior to that. 

He has attained qualifications in Health and Safety and a 360-degree excavator operators' course, the latter taking him just five of the designated ten course days despite being one of the youngest participants at 17 years old.  

He travelled over 50 miles from his home to stay at the CITB National Construction College in Renfrew, as no local colleges could cater for his ambitions. Despite the challenges and the nerves that came with being further away from his home than he had ever been before, Noah has embraced the challenge and become a key member of the team. 

When agency workers delivered disappointing results, Noah took it upon himself to purchase the necessary tools and support Haldane’s bricklayer during a particularly challenging project. Practicing during his weekend and carefully observing directions given, he quickly developed the skills required and became integral to the successful delivery of the brief. 

Find out more about Haldane Construction Services Ltd, which is also an FMB insurance customer. 

Southern Counties Apprentice of the Year - Kenny Thompson of Biocraft Ltd

Kenny Thompson, Biocraft Ltd, 2023 Southern Counties MBAs Apprentice Award winner

Having finished the first year of his apprenticeship with employer Biocraft Ltd, Kenny Thompson is now well on his way to completing his course and earning his NVQ2 in Carpentry from Reading College. Initially recruited as a labourer, Kenny showed a keen interest in learning a trade from the get-go and proactively pursued an apprenticeship following discussions with his Managing Director.

Since joining the team, his employer describes him as 'a breath of fresh air' who is always willing to learn, and to support colleagues with their workloads, stating that he is never seen on-site without a smile on his face and a 'can-do' attitude. The judges were impressed by his accumulation of qualifications in health and safety training, asbestos awareness, emergency first aid, manual handling, working at height and more, describing him as a 'credit to himself and his employers'.

Find out more about Biocraft Ltd.

South West Apprentice of the Year - Joseph Harris of Alford Construction and Joinery

Apprentice award winner - Joseph Harris, Alford Construction and Joinery

The judging panel commended Joseph’s change of career path in stepping away from the family line of farming to carve out a successful career in carpentry, whilst still helping out with family business alongside his apprenticeship.

Joseph has worked hard over the past two years to hone his skills as a joiner and is often the go-to person to speak to on site if his co-workers need specialist skilled advice. He demonstrates a readiness to help and shows empathy for others.

On the academic side, his employer praised his application to his course work, going above and beyond to achieve distinction marks and travelling to college to make revisions to his work – showing dedication to his craft.

Find out more about Alford Construction and Joinery.

Yorkshire and Trent Apprentice of the Year - Jordan Hopkinson of James P Spencer Ltd

2023 Y&T MBAs, Apprentice of the Year - Jordan Hopkinson of James P Spencer Ltd

Currently in the first year of his bricklaying apprenticeship, Jordan was nominated by his manager at James P Spencer Ltd for his excellent attitude and work ethic.

Despite a significant commute, he has never missed a class at Nottingham College and has never failed to keep his theory and coursework portfolio up to date. He's the first on site for work, arriving at least 20 minutes early every day and has notably never been the first to leave at the end of the day.

Jordan has also taken on the task of guiding the latest apprentice to join the company, and has never once complained about the scope of his responsibilities.

He has shown the utmost courtesy to colleagues and clients, with his manager describing him as 'every employers' dream employee'. The judges were impressed by the commitment he has shown to his work and the positive impression he has created with his employer.

Find out more about James P Spencer Ltd.

< See all 2023 finalists