Orkney builder recognised at Scottish Apprenticeship Awards

Orkney builder recognised at Scottish Apprenticeship Awards

Connor Coburn

An Orkney Modern Apprentice who helped to build affordable housing for the islands and inspire other apprentices is a finalist in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, which take place on 8 March.

Conor Coburn, 22, of Kirkwall, started working for Orkney Builders in 2018 and wowed bosses with his high standard of work, natural leadership, focus and passion for learning.

He quickly cemented the basic skills he had developed with his dad - who also works at Orkney Builders and who had inspired his work ambitions.

During his Modern Apprenticeship in Construction (Building) Conor worked on an affordable new build scheme and played a key role in manufacturing timber kits when sourcing became difficult.

Conor was also given a work package at a school nursery development contract and allocated an apprentice to work alongside him - and trusted to get on with the job with minimal supervision.

The project has since been applauded by both the client and end-user for the quality of workmanship and finish presented.

Conor said: “My dad has always been in construction and I started helping him out with jobs around the house when I was four, so I knew I wanted to go into the sector when I left school.

“The Modern Apprenticeship improved my confidence and gave me the opportunity to prove what I can do.

“When you stand back from something and know you’ve done a great job, it feels good. Being part of every stage when we made timber frame kits was really special.”

Conor achieved a near 100% pass in his skills test as part of his learning at Orkney College UHI and inspires other apprentices to strive for higher standards with his work ethic.

Orkney Builders (Contractors) Limited managing director Stephen Kemp said: “Apprentices are an essential part of our business, helping to maintain the competent and experienced tradespeople that we need.

“Conor is exceptional - he is very intelligent, works hard and people follow him. He is a natural leader and is steps ahead of many people his own age.

“Within a few months of starting the apprenticeship, our site managers had identified him as a leader of the future, which is extremely positive, and also rare.”

CITB apprenticeship officer Jacqueline Argo said: “Conor has an absolute knack for his trade and is a brilliant all-rounder.

“He is the epitome of a successful apprentice, a natural leader and his quiet confidence inspires those around him to work to his high standards.”

Modern Apprenticeships are jobs open to anyone aged 16 and over who wants to work, learn and earn.

Conor’s achievements have led to him being a finalist in the Modern Apprentice of the Year - SCQF Level 6+ category at the awards.

Winners will be revealed at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, which is organised by Skills Development Scotland and set to take place during Scottish Apprenticeship Week from 6-10 March. Find out more about the award finalists and register for the free virtual ceremony on 8 March at 7pm by visiting: www.apprenticeships.scot/awards.

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