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Outstanding Talent: Greater Manchester Apprentices Shine in National Award


Three apprentices from Greater Manchester, all from different skilled trades, have been announced as the winners of The Nation’s A* Apprentice Award 2024.

The award, launched by Markel Direct, the specialist tradespeople insurer, recognises those who have gone above and beyond in their role as a trades apprentice and aims to celebrate the outstanding work skilled trades apprentices all over the UK are doing within their workplace.

The three winners – Alfie Kinsella, Lily Moore and Dakota O’Brien – faced stiff competition from nominations across the UK, and were selected by the judging panel of Rob Rees, Divisional Director of Markel Direct, Louis Timpany, Founder and CEO of Fix Radio and James Wilson, Marketing Manager at Festool UK.

Alfie Kinsella, a carpentry and joinery apprentice from Fallowfield, was named one of the winners after being nominated by his employer, Callum Scarry, co-owner of Beniko Construction.

When asked about nominating Alfie, Callum said:

“He’s been through a lot in the past year, and I really thought it would impact him, but his work ethic has remained unmatched. He’s never missed a day of work, and comes to every job eager to learn. We’re really proud of Alfie and what he’s overcome – the construction industry isn’t glamourised so to have an apprentice like Alfie who actively wants to learn about the trade is great.”

Another winner, representing Bolton and her company AR Decor, was Lily Moore, a painting and decorating apprentice. Lily was nominated by her boss Andrew Hamilton, who described Lily as a “real breath of fresh air” and that “from day one, she’s shown so much interest in our trade and it shows with her work. She’s not afraid to try new things and she’s also not afraid to ask questions when she’s struggling – that’s very important to me.”

On finding out she had won The Nation’s A* Apprentice award, Lily said:

“I am absolutely buzzing to have won this award, and also to be representing females in the trade. I feel like I’ve now got a head start having my very own Festool toolkit. It’s a total dream and I’m really proud of myself.”

The third and final winner was Dakota O’Brien from Moston, who has been undertaking an electrical apprenticeship with his employer James Burns of Croft Electrical.

When asked why he nominated his apprentice, James said:

“I’m a small one-man band and I was told taking on an apprentice would be hard but with his [Dakota’s] eagerness and willingness to learn it has been a massive help to the day to day running of the business.”

All three winners received a development package consisting of a Festool toolkit and accessories worth £4,000, a £750 voucher to spend on TuffStuff workwear and 24-hour tools cover for a year from Markel Direct.

When asked about winning the prize, Dakota said:

“I’m so happy to have my very own set of tools, James will be asking to borrow mine now! I still can’t believe I’ve won this award.”

Nominations were open from Monday 5th February, to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week 2024. Carpentry and joinery apprentice, Alfie, said, “I had no idea that Callum had nominated me for this award, I only found out on the morning I received the prize. It feels really special that my boss has given me this recognition.”

“It is no secret the important role that apprentices will play in the future of the trades and construction industry, and our three winners are a clear example of how attitude and hard graft can get you a long way. To be recognised for this award is a great achievement for Lily, Alfie and Dakota, and I want to congratulate them all on their success.”

Rob Rees, Divisional Director of Markel Direct

“Deciding on just three winners from the shortlist was a hard task, but I am confident in our decision, as these three deserving winners all demonstrated clearly going above and beyond in their apprenticeships. Hearing the employer’s comments about their apprentices was touching to say the least. I’m really honoured to have been involved in this campaign.”

Louis Timpany, Founder and CEO of Fix Radio

To find out more about the apprentices’ achievements, and the judges’ comments, visit https://www.markeluk.com/apprentice

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