Scottish success at CITB Pride of Construction Awards

A Shetland apprentice, a plasterer from East Kilbride and a construction worker from Cumnock were all given prestigious industry awards by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).

Highland lad Christopher Smith took home the National Construction College (NCC) Outstanding Apprentice of the Year award at the Pride of Construction Awards ceremony at Old Billingsgate in London last week.

The Awards mark CITB’s 50th anniversary and celebrate key contributions made by individuals, companies and training partners to the industry.

National Construction college student Christopher – who works at Irvine Contractors Ltd in Lerwick – is now in the third year of his apprenticeship.

After being presented with the prestigious award by television personality Alexander Armstrong, Christopher said: “I’m proud to have received this award.

“The training and support I have received during my apprenticeship from my employer, the NCC and CITB have helped give me a great start in the construction industry.”

Andy Walder, principal at the National Construction College, said: “Christopher is an outstanding apprentice and a worthy winner of our Outstanding Apprentice of the Year award due to his attitude, aptitude and ability.”

The 24-year-old’s boss Leslie Irvine said: “His commitment and enthusiasm shines through to all who come into contact with him both employees and customers.

“He consistently shows the right attitude towards work, is a strong team player, an integral member of our staff and an important part of our succession planning to help our business to grow in the future.”

East Kilbride’s Kenny McAllister who catapulted himself from apprentice to boss in a few short years was recognised with the 50th Anniversary Apprentice Award for his efforts.

Kenny started working as a plasterer alongside his dad at the age of 15, but just a few years later, he set up his own company, KMac plasterers.

After starting an apprenticeship with CITB he combined working onsite while attending South Lanarkshire College in two-week blocks and studied for his SVQ Level 3.

Kenny said: “The apprenticeship was the best of both worlds. I still got plenty of on-site experience, which boosted my teamwork and communication skills.

“However, at college we got to experience different types of work, for example cornice work, which helped make me a better all-round tradesman.”

Andy Walder added: “We are delighted to recognise and credit his achievements as he excels in his trade.

“Kenny is a credit to the industry and we wish him further success in his career.”

The award is yet another addition to the 24 year old Kenny’s busy mantelpiece. He has already won the gold medal at the UK final of SkillBuild in Leeds and the CITB Apprentice of the Year award.

Cumnock’s Eddie Balmer was recognised for his contribution to the construction of the SSE Hydro.

The Ayrshire man tasked with overseeing the building of the iconic Glasgow venue took home an ‘I Built That’ award, said: “Being part of this project is the highlight of my 30-year-career in the construction industry.”

The freelance construction manager was engaged by Lend Lease on this iconic construction project overseeing multi-trade operations to Front of House, which included high-level inclined fire-rated, acoustic, airtight plenum ceilings.

Phil Ford, CITB strategic partnership director for Scotland, said: “We are pleased to recognise Eddie’s contribution to the Glasgow SSE Hydro and to the construction industry in Scotland. CITB is delighted to recognise him and his work on one of the country’s most iconic buildings.”

The SSE Hydro, Scotland’s largest purpose-built public event arena, has a free spanning roof of 120 metres, large enough to encompass Glasgow’s Queen Street railway station and encloses a highly flexible amphitheatre for an audience of up to 13,000.

Construction of the venue cost £125 million. The new building joins the landmark Clyde Auditorium on the northern bank of the River Clyde within Glasgow’s former docks, and has been designed from the inside-out to ensure excellent views of the stage and high quality acoustics.

The venue, which opened in September 2013, was used as to host netball and gymnastics during Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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