It’s that time of year again… the On The Tools awards! A night full of laughter and celebration, we like to honour the UK’s tradespeople in our annual awards ceremony. Only a few weeks away, our shortlists have now been chosen and it’s time for you, the boots on the ground, to have your say and pick a winner.

So, let’s kick things off with the ‘Apprentice of the Year’ award. Sponsored by Jewson, this award honours the future of the UK construction industry. And, we’ve got two incredible shortlists for you to choose from.

First up, we have Katie Smith.

An apprentice bricklayer, before Katie’s career, she dealt with several personal issues. Growing up in a children’s home, she had a turbulent childhood and struggled with her ADHD, Dyslexia and Dyscalculia. Later on in life, she also found it hard to find employment and eventually ended up living on benefits. Finding this tough, she also soon found herself in housing debt and struggling to get by.

Despite all of this though, Katie dreamed of achieving something great for herself. Teaming up with the Princes Trust Talent Match, it wasn’t long before she found her calling: bricklaying.

From the word go, Katie was extremely dedicated, travelling 2 hours a day to get to and from college for her training. Waking up at 5:30 am every day to get there, her tutor saw her dedication too, claiming that her speed and accuracy was some of the best he’d ever seen.

Turning her life around, Katie is now striving to gain her level 3 qualification in bricklaying as well. Not only that, but she’s also thinking of wider career aspirations too. In the future, she’d even like to set up her own women-only construction company, encouraging women into the sector.

At the news she’d been shortlisted, Katie described: “I was truly gobsmacked [to be shortlisted].”

“You asked me for a reason why I think I deserve to win, I think mainly just down to my determination to never ever quit.”

“No matter how big my issues have been, no matter how small, I have never ever given up.”

“Picking myself up more times than I can remember and still getting up every day and telling myself no matter how I feel, what I’ve been through, I get up, dress up and show up.”

“Becoming a bricklayer has made me turn my life, my attitude to life around.”

“And my future looks more positive than it ever has.”

You go, Katie! A great, deserving apprentice, she is also accompanied in the shortlist by another talented young construction worker.

Our second shortlisted apprentice is Nathan Tyrrell.

Joining his company in December of last year, it wasn’t long before Nathan began to impress his managers and supervisors with his work ethic and commitment to his qualification. Currently completing the third year of his Advanced Electrical Installation apprenticeship, Nathan, for the past 2 months, has been travelling 125 miles a day to a site in Kent to gain more experience.

Nathan has also taken on a variety of different mentoring and ambassador roles too. Sharing his knowledge with other apprentices, he also works as an ambassador promoting the positives of becoming an apprentice.

When asked why he should win, Nathan stated: “I am passionate about the construction industry and have enjoyed every aspect of my apprenticeship at ENGIE.”

“Working through my apprenticeship I have grown from the shy boy who left school at 16, to become an ambassador to youth groups and mentor to a less advanced apprentice.”

“I have steadily taken on more responsibility, including electrical compliance work, testing, installations etc and am now almost qualified.”

“Keeping people safe is my number one priority and as an electrical installation apprentice I strive to work to the highest standards of health and safety.”

“I’m grateful to everyone who has helped me get to the stage I am at now.”

“Being nominated for this award makes me proud and excited.”

“I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me in the industry that I love!”

So what do you think? Who should win? Have your say and vote for your ‘Apprentice of the Year’ here.

Also want to have your say in some of our other awards? Then check out the other shortlists here. Happy voting!

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