Newcastle College apprentice Kieran Forster has been named the best in the country, after winning the Icopal Flat Roofing Apprentice of the Year 2018.
Kieran, who is training for his apprenticeship with local construction and roofing specialist Hodgson Sayers, came out on top against 10 other finalists from hundreds of applicants from across the country to bag the grand prize of £1,000 cash and a lifetime of free training at the BMI National Training Centre, as well as a coveted trophy.
The competition, held at Redland Roofing’s Gloucestershire headquarters, is open to all roofing apprentices in the UK and aims to address the challenges faced by the construction industry in its bid to meet the government target of a million new homes by 2020. Six finalists represented the College; one from Mitie Tilley and five from Hodgson Sayers and each received professional business coaching, as well as a pack of roofing tools and supplies.
18 year-old Kieran’s win comes just a few months after colleague and classmate David Crank was named this year’s regional SkillBuild roofing champion. David will hopefully go on to represent Hodgson Sayers and Newcastle College in the UK final in November.
Kieran commented: “It was a shock to be named Apprentice of the Year, especially as I’m only seven months into my apprenticeship and was competing against others with more experience.
“The judges praised me for my confidence, ability and communication skills and how I presented myself to them and it was a great feeling to be handed the trophy.
“I’m so pleased I chose to do an apprenticeship. Newcastle College and Hodgson Sayers both encourage me to take part in competitions like these and put the skills I’ve learned to the test. Winning this has shown that the skills I’m learning here can really help me get to the top of my trade and be the best I can be.”
Programme Leader Alan Bessford added: “Competitions such as these are fantastic opportunities for our apprentices and it was amazing to have so many finalists representing us this year.
“It really demonstrates how effective apprenticeships are and how the combination of college study and on-the-job training ensures apprentices are learning the skills they need to do well in their careers.
“Kieran did amazingly well and his talent and confidence shone through, he thoroughly deserved to walk away the winner, we’re really proud of him.”
Find out more about roofing courses or apprenticeships at Newcastle College.