A member of staff at a Newton Aycliffe business has been applauded after saving huge organisations millions of pounds.

Niall Douglas of Johnson Procurement Solutions has been named one of the Young Achiever Award winners at the NEPIC Industry Awards - and all without him being enrolled on any apprenticeship programme since he left his 5am shifts at a supermarket.

Niall already has the experience to look after projects worth in excess of £25m.

Steven Johnson from Darlington, his mentor and JPS’ managing director, said: “I am very proud of Niall. It has been incredible to see him on his career path.

“There is a level in the beginning where you have to hold a young member of the team’s hand to guide them through, so it’s fantastic to now have real confidence in him, he knows what he is doing, and he is a safe pair of hands in the organisation.

“Niall deserves the recognition because he hasn’t come through on the normal journey. He’s already at the cutting edge of the business and operating with huge competence.”

Niall, from Shildon, Co Durham, joined JPS 12 months after it was founded seven years ago. He has seen the business grow from working with small to medium businesses into procurement specialists providing flexible interim procurement and commercial support for blue chip organisations such as Worley, Centrica, Johnson Matthey and PX Group.

With seven-figure targets set for 2025, JPS are looking to hire post-graduate quantity surveyors within weeks and then a project procurement manager within the next four to six months.

Steven said: “We are a strong growing team and I believe we will only grow stronger by developing more young individuals. That is a huge part of the strategy.

“We want to replicate what we have achieved with Niall.”