A TALENTED apprentice has been presented with a special award in memory of a longstanding employee at the engineering firm where he works.

Cleveland Bridge apprentice Steven Liddle was named Metal Industry Craft Skills Apprentice of the Year in March 2018 and following on from that success he became the second recipient of the ‘Ron Maddison Award’.

The prize was inspired by the former employee, a training school manager who supervised approximately 700 apprentices during a distinguished 51 year career.

And the 21-year-old winner was presented with the trophy and prize by Ron’s son and daughter, Ken Maddison and Carol Lax, during a presentation event at the company’s Darlington factory.

Steven Liddle said: “It really is an honour to receive the Ron Maddison Award, which celebrates the work of someone who recognised the importance of teaching life skills alongside high standards of technical training.”

Following Ron’s death in 2015 at the age of 90, his family chose to honour his memory by creating the award to recognise the commitment, quality and aspirations of apprentices.

To win the award, apprentices are judged by various criteria including the biggest improvement, addressing safety concerns for themselves and others, accuracy of their work, flexibility, and efficiency and demonstrating an ability to help Cleveland Bridge UK implement its core values.

The runner-up was the winner of last year’s inaugural award, Michael Spence, also 21, from Darlington.

Mr Maddison said: “It’s great to see that apprentices remain such an important part of Cleveland Bridge. Dad would have been very proud.”

Chris Droogan, the firm's managing director, said: “Ron joined Cleveland Bridge at the age of 14 and during his career worked on many iconic projects, including the Auckland Harbour, Forth, Bosphorus and Humber bridges.

“However, perhaps his greatest achievement was in helping found our apprenticeship programme and in passing on his undoubted expertise and technical knowledge. I’m delighted this award remembers Ron’s significant contribution and his legacy continues to be felt to this day in our apprenticeship programme.”