Wakefield Council Apprentice wins award

​Date: 20/01/2015

An apprentice at the Council has beaten off competition from dozens of other students to win a top regional award.

The Leeds College of Building named Ben Smith, aged 19, as its Construction Operative Apprentice of the Year, in recognition of his outstanding work.

The teenager from Upton started his career two years ago with the Council's highways team as a Construction Operative Apprentice, where he has followed a structured training programme that included learning practical skills such as how to mend potholes, repair roadside kerbs, and operate machinery.

Ben, who was presented with a trophy and certificate in a ceremony at Leeds Town Hall, said: "I'm really pleased to have won and it feels like a really good achievement.

"I was 16 when I heard about Apprenticeships at the Council and I thought it was a good opportunity as I've always been interested in practical work and I like being outdoors."

As part of his Apprenticeship, he spent time at college so had a good balance between practical work and learning in a classroom with other students.

The skills he learned have recently helped him to gain a full-time job as a construction operative with the Council's highways team, which has presented fresh opportunities including the chance to study for his HGV license.

Cllr Graham Stokes, Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, said: "Wakefield Council has a history of offering high quality training programmes to the young people of Wakefield. It is nice to see another of our apprentices being recognised in this way. I would like to congratulate Ben on his success."

Cllr David Dagger, Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways, said: "Ben's success is a testament to his hard work and commitment. Apprenticeships offer a wealth of opportunities to young people, and I am proud that the Council is able to offer this support young people in our district to achieve their goals."