North duo take top honours at apprentice of the year bash

Greg Thomson and Paul Thain are third and fourth from the left respectively

An Aberdeenshire brickie and Caithness-based mechanic scooped two of the top honours at the Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC) 2016 Apprenticeship Awards.

Glen Thomson, 22, of Scotia Homes in Ellon, won the James Birnie award for craft excellence, an annual accolade recognising apprentices undertaking any of the four year Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) level three programmes.

And 21-year-old Paul Thain, who works for Subsea 7 at its site at Wester, near Wick, was named civil engineering apprentice of the year.

Mr Thomson became an apprentice bricklayer at Scotia Homes in 2012.

Hehas since completed his SVQ level three in bricklaying, with advanced craft, at North East Scotland College (NESC) and is currently studying for a Higher National Certificate in construction management.

His latest award adds to a string of others he has won since he began his apprenticeship, including student achievement and apprentice of the year gongs from NESC.

SBATC said Mr Thain was nominated for his award by Subsea 7 in recognition of “his willingness to learn, professionalism and the fresh approach and modern way of thinking he has brought to the job”.

Completing each block of his college-based training involved a gruelling round-trip of more than 600 miles to the National Construction College Scotland at Inchinnan, near Glasgow.

Now in their 17th year, the SBATC Apprenticeship Awards recognise the talents, skills and abilities of construction apprentices working across Scotland.

Attending yesterday’s event in the Scottish Parliament, employability and training minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Congratulations to all the apprentices who have been recognised for their hard work and dedication.

“The Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council is an excellent platform to nurture and support apprentices in the construction industry, and these inspiring success stories show the real benefit apprenticeships make to individuals, employers and the Scottish economy.”

SBATC chairman Gavin Hay said: “Apprenticeships continue to be the lifeblood of the Scottish construction industry, which continues to punch well above its weight in terms of the high number and outstanding quality of opportunities we are able to offer.

“It’s great to be able to celebrate the remarkable achievements and universally high standard of all those shortlisted for the SBATC Apprenticeship Awards.”