CONSTRUCTION trainee Martin Horner is building the foundations for a successful career after winning his firm's trainee of the year award.

The 17-year-old, from Shildon, works as a plastering apprentice for Bishop Aucland company M and M Plasline, and is on site at Silksworth refurbishing flats in a £75,000 project for the Sunderland Housing Group.

He is studying at Darlington College for an NVQ level 2 in Plastering and hopes to move on to level 3 next year.

Last year, he was runner up in the North-East regional heats for the CITB Skill Build competition.

He said: "I really enjoy my apprenticeship and I'm learning a lot about plastering while I work.

"I'm grateful to all of my supervisors for teaching me about all the different types of plastering and I'm glad I'm learning a skill that will give me a career for life."

Mark Denham, who supervises Martin's training, said: "Martin is a fantastic trainee and has shown a natural aptitude for plastering.

"He learns very quickly and is always keen to listen and learn more, which is why we have chosen him for this award. I'm extremely pleased for him that he has achieved this award and I hope that he goes on to develop his potential at MMP."

MMP chairman Michael O'Connell said: "Trainees are the lifeblood of our industry as they are the people that will keep the important trades going for the future.

"It's important to reward the people who are working hard to become highly skilled and qualified in their chosen trades and who are building their careers within our sector.

"The recruitment crisis that the industry is still heading towards can only be averted by attracting more talented youngsters such as Martin into the profession, to be shining examples to their peers and show the fantastic career opportunities available in all areas of construction."