James Dowson named Apprentice of the Year at the start of National Apprenticeship Week
AT the start of National Apprenticeship Week 2021 (8–14 February), James Dowson has been announced as Ibstock’s Apprentice of the Year. Mr Dowson, who works at the Ibstock Brick Birtley factory in Chester-Le-Street, impressed the selection panel with his proactive approach, initiative and practical application of his skills.
The 25-year-old completed his Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Engineering Manufacture (Mechanical) in 2019 and is currently in the final stages of completing his electrical apprenticeship as he works towards becoming a dual-skilled engineer.
One of the key pillars of Ibstock’s Sustainability Roadmap 2025 is ‘People’, with the objective of building a safe, happy and healthy workplace where employees can reach their full potential.
The award, which is now in its sixth year, is an opportunity to celebrate exceptional performance. Apprentices on Ibstock’s award-winning scheme gain knowledge of the business through a mixture of classroom and practical learning, with graduates achieving externally recognized academic and vocational qualifications.
The Apprentice of the Year is awarded £500 as well as a two-part trophy; half of the trophy is given to the apprentice with the other half going to the factory where they work. Mr Dowson was presented with his prize by John Lambert, regional production director – North.
Commenting on his award, Mr Dowson said: ‘Ibstock’s apprenticeship scheme is renowned for producing a high standard of apprentices. To be honoured as Apprentice of the Year is something I am extremely proud of.
‘The scheme has provided me with many learning opportunities and has helped me develop as an engineer. I would like to thank everybody who has supported me throughout my academic studies and practical experience on site. I hope to continue my career progression within Ibstock over the next few years and make a positive impact in the future.’
Karen Harris, Ibstock’s early career and apprenticeship development manager, commented: ‘I would like to congratulate James, and all of our apprentices, for their hard work and dedication to learning in such unprecedented times.
‘Such was the quality of this year’s candidates, the selection panel had a very hard decision in choosing a winner. James stood out as he had a proactive approach to his work and showed examples of projects which highlighted the practical skills he has gained. He is a very deserving winner.
‘As a business, our challenge is to continue to build on our skills base for the future by nurturing a new generation of highly qualified employees. Our apprenticeship programme is designed to deliver world-class engineering skills and ultimately contributes to our goal of growing our business by investing in our people – from the very start of their careers.’
As well as their apprenticeship scheme, Ibstock also offer a Manufacturing Management Trainee programme. The four-year programme sees participants study for a foundation degree alongside Ibstock technical modules.