A Garboldisham teenager looks to be paving the way for a promising future career after been named apprentice of the year in a prestigious building competition.
Trainee bricklayer Sam Wharton, 19, scooped the National Housebuilding Council award after combining his studies at West Suffolk College with an apprenticeship at R&J Hogg Builders, based in Coney Weston.
Sam, who studies at college one day a week, said: “I was delighted to pick up the award.
“It is great having an apprenticeship because you learn so many skills on the job as well as studying at the college.”
His achievements in winning the Level 3 Apprentice of the Year for the eastern region maintains the college’s record in the competition.
Sam’s mentor at R&J Hogg, Joe Melvin, from Woolpit, also won the award and the current student said he was pleased to be following in the footsteps of his now-work colleague.
It is great having an apprenticeship because you learn so many skills on the job as well as studying at the collegeSam Wharton
“Joe has helped me a lot and so has everyone at West Suffolk College and R&J Hogg Builders. Because they are historic building specialists, it has been really fascinating to work on old churches and to do some flint laying which is quite rare now.”
Dave Wood, construction crafts lecturer, said: “It was a real team decision to put Sam forward for this award and we are pleased the judges have seen what we see.
“He is a real all-rounder and he has the whole package —from good attendance and manners to accuracy.
“We pride ourselves on offering a high standard of education by teaching staff who all have more than 20 years’ experience in the industry.
“We have quite an established relationship with R&J Hogg and we are delighted Sam is keeping that tradition going.”