Golden Apple Award builds foundations of career for trainee bricklayer

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Winning a Golden Apple Award has been life changing for one of last year's winners.

Two weeks after student Vincent Rourke picked up the award for learner of the year he secured a role with a local employer.

The Golden Apple Awards recognise and reward excellence and achievement in all fields of education and skills.

Brought to you by CN Group, they are supported by Inspira and the University of Cumbria.

Vincent, 28, believes his award success led to him being taken on and now wants people to nominate other worthy pupils, students or learners who could clinch his crown this year.

Vincent, 28, is an apprentice with William King Brickwork Solutions in Cleator Moor.

He had completed a level one brickwork qualification at Lakes College, Lillyhall, and just started his level two course when he won his Golden Apple Award last October.

He said: "The award helped me get a job. A couple of weeks after the ceremony I was at college when my tutor was talking about me to a visitor.

"It was Lisa, who is now my boss. He was telling her how I was really keen and eager to learn and how I'd just won the award.

"She asked if I wanted to do a two-week trial and I said definitely. I asked all sorts of questions and kept on asking to do things. After that they asked if I wanted to start an apprenticeship; I couldn't believe it."

Vincent, of Great Clifton, is now close to completing his level two qualification and there are plans for him to move on to a level three course at Carlisle College.

Lisa King is a director of the family-run Cleator Moor firm, along with her husband William. Vincent is one of six apprentices they have in their 25-strong team.

Mrs King said: "Vincent has worked on a lot of projects with us and he's progressed through his level two and we want him to go on and do his level three, not just for us but for his own progression."

"Working with William is brilliant," said Vincent. "He's a perfectionist and things done right so I've got to up my game and he's won awards as well. I learn a lot from him and all of the team. I absolutely love it.

"Going to college is great but nothing beats working on a real-life project. I've worked on all kinds this last year. It's great to pass places now that I played a part in building. It puts a smile on my face."

Projects Vincent has worked on include a scheme at Lancaster University, constructing 17 bungalows in Seascale and building the new Ainfield Cycles base at Cleator Moor.

Vincent returned to college 10 years after working a number of dead end jobs.

Vincent is getting used to seeing his talents rewarded.

He's just been named bricklaying apprentice of the year at Lakes College.

He won the senior division of the North West bricklaying heats of this year's SkillBuild competition recently too and is waiting to see if he has secured enough points to go through to the national final in Birmingham.

Last year Vincent won SkillBuild's new entrant award.

Vincent now wants others to have the chance of taking home this year's Golden Apple Award for Best Student.

"I'd certainly encourage people to nominate any individual they think deserves to be put forward," said Vincent.

"Just hearing I'd been nominated was so exciting. It gives you a push. I got such a sense of achievement from it."

There are just two weeks left to enter the 2017 Golden Apple Awards.

Nominations can be submitted until 5pm on Friday, July 28.

There are 20 categories. Individuals including learners of any age, professionals and volunteers can be nominated.

There are categories too for schools, childcare settings, training providers and further and higher education specialists.

Successful, innovative and pioneering community, work-based or employee development programmes can also be nominated in our free-to-enter awards.

For a full list of categories and to enter, go online at www.gaawards.co.uk or email goldenapple@cnmedia.co.uk.

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