5 November 2015

The hard work of a talented apprentice working with leading homebuilder Barratt Homes, in conjunction with Central College Nottingham, has been recognised at a national award ceremony.

Shaun Cowell, from Cotgrave, has been commended in the 16 to 24-year-old category at the 2015 Young Builder of the Year Awards, for his work at the company’s Hollygate Park development in Cotgrave and his commitment to his studies.

The 24-year-old, who left school without any formal qualifications, is now putting his skills into practice at the Hollygate Park development, while studying towards an NVQ Level 3 qualification in bricklaying with Central College Nottingham.

The awards celebrate the achievements of young people who have overcome personal barriers to train and work for the construction industry.

Shaun said:

“I really enjoyed the awards, it was a great day out and really interesting to see so many people from different backgrounds who have been helped by apprenticeships. It really showed how good they are at supporting young people.

“It was nice to have been commended for my work – I’ve worked hard for it! My main focus now is to continue to prove myself through my apprenticeship. It’s not easy work but I’m really enjoying it and learning lots too.”

Shaun and other apprentices from companies across the country attended the awards ceremony at the House of Commons in London, enjoying dinner in the capital and ending the day with a ride on the London Eye.

John Dillon, Managing Director at Barratt Homes North Midlands, said:

“We’re all very proud of Shaun’s achievement and pleased that he has received the recognition he deserves for his continued hard work. Shaun is an excellent example of what can be achieved through an apprenticeship with Barratt Homes.

“Apprenticeships combine on-the-job experience with classroom based learning and we have found them to be one of the most effective ways of building construction skills. We pride ourselves on the level of investment we make to ensure that talent is developed and valued.”

Terry Brickles, Head of School for Construction at Central College Nottingham, said:

“We nominated Shaun because he has been an excellent student. He is always asking great questions, far above the level expected on the course. We are delighted that Shaun’s persistence and hard work have been recognised at a national level.”

Before joining Central College, Shaun had been struggling for the last five years to find the right path towards gaining meaningful employment.

Shaun said:

“I had applied for lots of jobs but felt I was mostly turned down because I am over 20 years old. I have a family to support and found it difficult to make ends meet. I saw a local flyer in the community centre window in Cotgrave, where I live, asking if people wanted to attend a pre-apprenticeship course at Central College.

After completing the pre-apprenticeship, Shaun undertook a Level 2 Bricklaying course and then secured his position at Barratt Homes in August.

Barratt Developments, parent company to Barratt Homes, has a record of recruiting young people to the business, and was named as the best employer of apprentices in the country at last year’s National Apprenticeship Awards.

The awards are organised by YouthBuild UK, whose aim is to promote engagement with young people to combat social exclusion, through the development of construction based support services, and celebrate young people’s success.