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Awards for apprentices and trainees of the year

This year’s outstanding apprentices and trainees have been presented with awards to recognise their achievements, and to acknowledge them as the skilled future of the industry.

The awards, which routinely present a difficult task for the judging panel, were presented by WPD Chief Executive Phil Swift.

Phil said: “We truly appreciate the hard work and commitment of all our apprentices. They play a crucial role, developing the skills necessary to support our business to be leaders in network performance and customer service, now and for years to come. Earning these awards at the start of their career journey is something to cherish and I hope the winners are as proud of their achievements as I am. I also hope they, along with all our apprentices, will share long and successful careers with us, making lasting friendships. There has never been a more exciting and influential time to join.”

This year’s winners are:

Trainee – Josh Rowe, Primary Systems Design Graduate, Avonbank

East Midlands – Joshua Smith, Overhead Lines, Kettering

South Wales – Steve Ironside, Overhead Lines, Brecon

South West – Tom Hallam, Jointer, Plymouth

West Midlands – Phoebe Roberts, Fitter, Stoke

Josh Rowe was nominated by Major Projects South West Distribution Manager Richard Horlington, who said: “Josh is a high performing individual and the people I have spoken to see little difference in his skill when compared to existing team members. He routinely delivers high levels of dedication and work output. The most pleasing thing to find is a graduate operating at this level so soon after their training.”

Steve Ironside was nominated by Cardiff Distribution Manager Huw Thomas, who said: “During his apprenticeship, Steve’s son was born. It soon became apparent that his immune system was weaker than normal. Although his son has improved with age he had to shield during Covid, which created additional worry and concern for Steve and the way he conducts his life. Despite this, Steve committed 100% to his apprenticeship, completing his delayed Trade Test 2 with distinction, and he is now a well-respected linesman in the South Powys team.”

Tom Hallam was nominated by Plymouth Distribution Manager Paul Elsen, who said: “Tom has always been keen to show that he is a person who will have a great progressive career within WPD. He has stayed well ahead of target throughout his apprenticeship and uses his communication skills to work with different teams to complete his tasks. He is now a mentor and has already helped a local internal apprentice. With more planned apprentices in Plymouth to come Tom will continue to be an asset. He continues to impress in becoming a full craftsperson within a new team.”

Phoebe Roberts’ assessor said: “The most notable thing about Phoebe is her willingness to ‘get stuck in’. This is unwavering, whether it be during a training session, responding to feedback on her written work or working with colleagues in depot and on site. She has a highly efficient approach to work, which combined with her drive and determination gets good results in short order. She made a significant contribution to the last Ofsted monitoring visit, allowing one of the inspectors to sit in on one of her assessments with me. Phoebe gave an excellent account of herself and the scheme and I am grateful for her contribution.”

Joshua Smith was unable to attend the presentation due to Covid isolation rules. His assessor said: “From the outset Josh has shown great determination, resilience and dedication to both his role and the company. He was offered an apprenticeship in 2015 and 2016 but missed the minimum exam requirements. In 2017 not only did he pass the minimum requirement but he also gained a City & Guilds. Since then Josh has worked hard to prove himself and has more than succeeded. He’s always hardworking and willing to help out with any task across all the teams. Josh is well respected by his peers and all that work with him and is a genuinely valued member of the team.”

Due to lockdown, last year’s winners received their awards at a virtual presentation which was followed by a formal presentation at Avonbank when Covid restrictions allowed.

Awards were presented to Swansea-based Fitter Carwyn Thomas, Withybush-based Planner Matt Driver, Hereford-based Wayleave Specialist Wes Gammond and Lincoln-based Fitter Thomas Clarke. The 2019 South West award was made posthumously to Linesman Peter West.

WPD staff standing in front of awardsThe 2020 winners pictured with Phil Swift are (left to right) Joshua Rowe, Steve Ironside, Tom Hallam and Phoebe Roberts.

WPD staff standing in front of awardsThe 2019 winners pictured with Phil Swift are (left to right) Carwyn Thomas, Matt Driver, Wes Gammond and Thomas Clarke.

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