A RISING star in the construction industry is celebrating after being shortlisted for two national awards.

Andrew Sykes, a bricklaying apprentice at Northallerton-based construction company Walter Thompson, was shortlisted in both the prestigious 2019 Young Builder of the Year Awards and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Apprentice of the Year Awards.

Andrew was commended in the 18-24 category of the Young Builder Awards at an awards ceremony at the House of Commons last week. Last year he was named as joint runner-up in the 14-18 category.

The awards are run by Youthbuild UK to “recognise the potential of every individual to overcome barriers in life through their engagement in construction based services and to celebrate their success”.

Andrew, who has a diagnosis of autism, said: “I enjoyed my day at the House Of Commons and was pleased to gain a commended certificate. I had to answer various questions to apply for the YBUK Award and there was also a section for my employer to complete to support my application.”

The 19-year-old, from Northallerton, will travel back down to London in two weeks for the CITB Awards, which will be held at the Merchant Taylor’s Hall on November 7.

He is one of five nominated in the Inspirational Apprentice category. The winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony hosted by broadcaster and property entrepreneur, Sarah Beeny, best known for presenting UK shows such as Property Ladder, Streets Ahead and Britain’s Best Homes.

Deborah Madden, CITB spokesperson said “The CITB Apprenticeship Awards celebrate the successes of apprentices and employers across the UK for their commitment and dedication to construction. We are proud of our apprentices and the employers who give them the opportunity to work and learn whilst building their career in construction. We look forward to celebrating this day with them, congratulations to all the finalists.”

Paul Hammerton, managing director of Walter Thompson who accompanied Andrew to London for the YBUK Award, added: “We’re tremendously proud of Andrew – he is a first class apprentice and a fine young man. He has a bright future ahead of him in the construction sector.”

Andrew joined the company in September 2017, and completed a Level 1 Diploma in brickwork at Darlington College before starting his apprenticeship with Walter Thompson.

He said: “My colleagues are all very supportive no matter what trade, including the site managers who are very easy to talk to. I thoroughly enjoy my job and every day brings new challenges and achievements.

“I aim to stay in the construction industry as I enjoy practical tasks and would like to one day progress into site management. Walter Thompson have been very supportive as an employer and I aim to stay with them long term.”

Outside of work, Andrew is a keen caver and a member of Bradford Potholing Club. He is an assistant Scout leader and has recently completed his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Mr Hammerton added: “I think our successes at these awards show how seriously we take our training. Our Walter Thompson Training Academy works closely with local colleges and universities to ensure our apprentices and trainees get the very best training.”

Walter Thompson is one of the largest privately-owned construction companies in the north east, undertaking contracts up to a value of £15m across a variety of sectors including: education, health care, leisure, MOD/DE, restoration and retail.