CITB Inspirational Apprentice of the Year 2018

A Cheshire bricklaying apprentice has won top prize at the 2018 Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Apprenticeship Awards. 

Mason Andrews, 24, from Buckley, employed by Barratt and David Wilson Homes North West, was named Great Britain’s Inspirational Apprentice of the Year at the ceremony which took place at Merchant Taylor’s Hall in London this November. 

The CITB Apprentice Awards celebrate the achievements of CITB apprentices, and their employers. The winners were presented with their awards at a ceremony hosted by the BBC Amazing Spaces presenter, George Clark.  

After conquering significant hurdles in his personal life, Mason jumped back into education and started to pursue his career in construction.  

Mason said: ‘’The entire experience has been overwhelming. I was nominated out of 14,000 apprentices across the UK, so I was never expecting to gain the award.  

‘’I have loved every moment of my apprenticeship and with the support from the College, I have been able to progress quickly through various levels. I am now exploring what management opportunities are available to me.  

‘’I was ecstatic when I got the job at Barratt and David Wilson Homes North West. Everyone is so friendly and supportive, it’s a great environment to be in. When I got into work the day after I won the award, everyone was cheering and congratulating me, it was heart-warming.

‘’The College has been great, especially my tutors Mark Nowell and Christopher Holland, they have been a crucial part of my development.

‘’I now know that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.’’ 

Mark Nowell, Apprenticeship Co-ordinator and Christopher Holland, Lecturer in Brickwork, tutored Mason throughout his College journey. They said: ‘’Mason was always keen and enthusiastic about his studies and was always striving to go the extra mile, ensuring his work was ‘just right’.

‘’He represented the College and Barratt and David Wilson Homes North West on several occasions out in local schools and the community, talking about the benefits of apprenticeships and the importance of maths and English in the industry. 

‘’Mason was always polite and friendly, and his positive attitude was infectious and inspiring. We wish him the best of luck in the future.’’ 

Mason joined Barratt and David Wilson Homes North West in September 2016. He is currently in his third year working towards completing an NVQ Level 3 Supervisor and Management qualification. During his time with the company, he has excelled in every project and has even taken the time to advance his skills and knowledge by undertaking his own projects, such as confidently building an extension for his Mum.

Stephen Cosgrove, Construction Director at Barratt and David Wilson Homes North West, said: ‘’Mason has overcome significate barriers within his personal life, and his background has enabled him to set long term goals not only to further his career but to provide a better life for him and his family. Having been faced with difficult situations in his younger years Mason has adopted many life skills that others don’t achieve in a lifetime. This has provided Mason with knowledge, skills and the tools he needs to succeed. Mason has a passion to succeed, which he demonstrates daily and continues to remain focused on site.  His belief in his own ability is what not only drives Mason to succeed but empowers others around him.

‘’Mason is top of the class when it comes to his punctuality, attendance, motivation, and enthusiasm.  He is a team player and has a great relationship with his team and management. This is not only on site but also on the field, where he has represented the Division in our annual cricket match, and as well as showing great sporting ability, was a respected member of the team standing shoulder to shoulder with the Managing Director and other Directors and not being phased by this experience.

‘’Mason has received several awards, including the Ancient and Worshipful Company of Bricklayers Apprenticeship and Advanced Apprenticeship in Bricklaying (Trowel Occupation), and recently he was named as the CITB Inspirational Apprentice of the Year, which is a prestigious award, and one which is richly deserved. He should be extremely proud of his achievements. He has a bright and successful career ahead of him and it’s a great pleasure to have Mason as part of our team. He is one for the future here at Barratt and David Wilson Homes North West!’’

Maria Davison, Director of Business Development and Apprenticeships, commented: ‘’This is a remarkable achievement for Mason and is truly well deserved.

‘’Mason has always demonstrated a can-do attitude and is highly self-motivated, which has enabled him to quickly excel with his studies.

‘’We are incredibly proud of Mason’s achievements and his enthusiasm to inspire other young people.’’

‘’We deliver high quality apprenticeship programmes that make a valuable contribution to both our Apprentices careers and the employers we work with.’’

If you are interested in studying at Cheshire College – South & West, or for more information, call 01270 654654 (Crewe Campus) 01244 656555 (Ellesmere Port & Chester Campuses) or visit

College supports growth of Ellesmere Port’s engineering and construction industry

The Engineering and Construction industry in Ellesmere Port has received a welcome boost following Cheshire College – South & West’s decision to move its Engineering and Construction departments to the town.

The move demonstrates the College’s commitment to ensuring the region’s Engineering and Construction workforce has the skills it needs to ensure future investment and growth.

The College has delivered high-quality training and Apprenticeships in the industry for over 30 years working with some of the region’s largest employers such as Vauxhall and Unilever to develop their future workforce.

Nathan Richards, 20, from Ellesmere Port who is studying a Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship in Process Engineering at Vauxhall Motors said: “I started on a Maintenance Engineering Apprenticeship with Vauxhall straight after leaving school. After two years I was given the chance to move onto the Higher Apprenticeship which I’m studying now.

“Growing up in Ellesmere Port there’s a lot of engineering focus. The opportunities I’ve been given at Vauxhall and the College have been amazing. I’m so glad I chose to do an Apprenticeship – the knowledge and skills you learn from colleagues and tutors who are qualified, competent and experienced are incredible.”

Supporting the College’s Apprentices are a dedicated team of highly experienced teachers and assessors at the College. Graham Fox, a former Vauxhall Apprentice and now teacher at Cheshire College – South & West, said: “I completed my Apprenticeship with Vauxhall in the 1970s and then went into the Merchant Navy. I then came back to Vauxhall in the 80s just as they were starting to make the Astra. After that I went on to work on aeroplanes, ships and cancer treatment machines.

“Going into teaching at a later stage in my career means I can give things back to young people from my lifetime of experiences. Moving to Ellesmere Port is an exciting time for us all – with opportunities for more specialist rooms and labs which will benefit our students as well as employers.”

For more information about studying Engineering and Construction at Cheshire College – South & West visit or call 01244 656555.

College welcomes world’s first luxury hybrid vehicle

Cheshire College – South & West has welcomed the arrival of a Bentayga Hybrid, Bentley’s first-ever high voltage vehicle, to its dedicated training facility in Crewe.

The training facility, based at the College’s Crewe Campus, supports the learning and development of both existing Bentley colleagues and new apprentices.

The arrival of the world’s first luxury hybrid vehicle to the College, is part of a continuing strategic partnership between Bentley and the College to invest in new skills development for the company’s future technicians and engineers.

As well as supplying the vehicle, Bentley has invested in continuing professional development for one of the College’s experienced Engineering Lecturers who will be able to deliver specialised training to apprentices at the College.

Mark Parsons, Assistant Principal for Services, Engineering and Construction, added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our apprentices to develop their skills and knowledge of working on electric vehicles. It demonstrates the ongoing commitment between the college and Bentley to ensure that our apprentices are working on the latest innovative technology.”

The Bentayga Hybrid was revealed to the public earlier this year at the Geneva International Motor Show.

Nigel Tew, Director of Whole Vehicle Engineering at Bentley, said: “As we enter an exciting new era of electrified vehicles, it is essential for Bentley to establish a safe, reliable training infrastructure. Importantly, we need to ensure that all our existing staff and new starters joining the business (including Apprentices) follow approved training.”

For more information on studying Engineering at Cheshire College – South & West visit or call 01270 654654.


College helps hundreds of young people secure Apprenticeships

Young people across Cheshire, who are currently looking for an Apprenticeship, are being encouraged to join Cheshire College – South & West’s unique Talent Pool service.

Since the Talent Pool was launched over four years ago, it has helped hundreds of young people secure Apprenticeships; with 98% of those going on to permanent employment.

Gail Walsh, Apprenticeship Co-ordinator at Cheshire College – South & West, explains: “The Talent Pool is an Apprenticeship matching service between young people and employers.

“We work with more than 800 local and national employers so our Talent Pool members have access to Apprenticeship vacancies as soon as they appear.”

The Talent Pool team provide tailored support for candidates throughout the Apprenticeship application process. Gail adds: “Our expert team are here to help you to get an Apprenticeship and start your new career. Our goal is to match you with an Apprenticeship and employer that suits you. Whether you are ready to apply straight away or need support with interview skills, CV writing or confidence building we are here to help.”

Sophie O’Connor, 20, from Ellesmere Port, who is currently on the Talent Pool, said: “I really enjoyed studying Level 4 HNC in Performing Arts here at College as it gave me the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills of the business side of theatre, events and production. I’m now looking for a Business Administration Apprenticeship. The Talent Pool has been a great – I’ve already secured a 12-week traineeship and have two interviews in the pipeline.”

One employer who recently used the Talent Pool service was NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (CSU), based at Countess of Chester Hospital.  Chris Stenhouse, Client IT Services Delivery Lead, said: “The Apprenticeship team at the College were very helpful. Within the first couple of weeks we were sent 12 CVs from the Talent Pool. It was refreshing to have a good volume of candidates, all with a variety of skills, to consider for interviews and then potentially recruit as an Apprentice.”

Rebecca Norman, 18, from Ellesmere Port, who has secured the Apprenticeship role at NHS Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit, said: “Thanks to the Talent Pool service I had already completed a Level 2 Apprenticeship in IT and I’m delighted to now progress onto a Level 3 Apprenticeship. When I joined the Talent Pool over a year ago the team helped me focus on my key skills and helped me prepare for interviews. They certainly gave me the first step in my career.”

To mark National Apprenticeship Week (5-9 March 2018), Cheshire College – South & West, will also host its annual Apprenticeship Awards Ceremony on Tuesday 6 March 6-8pm at its Ellesmere Port Campus. With more than 150 guests expected to attend, the Awards will celebrate the outstanding performance and results achieved by Apprentices from across the region.

Cheshire College – South & West has more than 1300 Apprentices and works with a range of SMEs to large national employers including Unilever, Bentley, National Grid,, Vauxhall and Scottish Power.

Apprentices help Chester events company thrive

Young people from across the region are being given the opportunity to develop their careers and skills in the workplace thanks to growing Chester events company, Funktion Events.

Funktion Events, which specialises in birthday parties, corporate events, hen and stag do weekends, has over the past three years recruited and employed six Apprentices to their team from Cheshire College – South & West.

Jay Boughton, Managing Director at Funktion Events, which manages nearly 2500 events per year and is set to expand into Europe in 2018, said: “We recruited our first Apprentice in 2014 when we moved to Chester; since then our business has been built on our successful Apprenticeship programme.

“Each one of our Apprentices has always stayed on after completing their Apprenticeship. The value to us as a business of having young people who are committed to their careers, who we can train from the outset has been invaluable and contributed significantly to our growth and success.”

Holly Clapshaw, 20, from Flintshire, who joined the company in December 2015 as a Marketing Apprentice and is now Marketing Manager, said: “I decided on an Apprenticeship after I had finished my A Levels. I wanted to get into Marketing so thought an Apprenticeship was a great way to get into the industry.

Holly is now responsible for a team of three and is responsible for promotion, SEO and writing content for the company website. Holly added: “It’s been such a great experience. I completed my Level 2 Apprenticeship and now half way through my Level 3. The company is very supportive and the course at the College complimented really well with the work I was doing as part of my job.”
Tom Jones, 19, from Wrexham, started a year ago as a Business Administration Apprentice at the company. Tom commented: “An Apprenticeship is a great way to get into an industry and develop a career. I’m learning on the job, plus gaining a qualification at the same time. Jay has been very supportive and has given me lots of opportunities to grow and develop.”

Karen McKean, Sales and Account Manager at Cheshire College – South & West, said: “This is a great example about how Apprenticeships can benefit both employers and young people. A company like Funktion Events has been able to grow and develop because of their commitment to bringing on Apprentices – they can employ young people who become skilled and trained in their business and add real value to its future.”

For more information about employing an Apprentice contact the Employer hotline on 01244 656499 or for information about becoming an Apprentice, contact 01244 656555.