Ayrshire Post

Robbie proves a class apart as top apprentice­s take their bow

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This year’s top apprentice in the annual awards event staged by Irvine Trades is Robbie McInnes.

The 18- year- old process worker from Dalry was presented with the Fergus Trophy and £ 1,000 at an awards night in the Park Hotel, Kilmarnock last week.

Robbie, who works at the DSM Nutritiona­l Products plant, impressed a panel of judges from industry and commerce at a series of interviews during the summer.

He told the audience at the presentati­on night: “Wow. I could never have thought this would happen when I was sitting at school two years ago.

“Not bad for a lad from the timber scheme in Dalry.”

Fifty finalists were shortliste­d for the 2019 awards in the annual competitio­n organised by the Incorporat­ed Trades of Irvine.

The contest has been running in the Irvine area for many years but was given a higher profile recently when it was extended to the whole of Ayrshire and a gala dinner added to the awards ceremony.

The move paid off because more companies are putting forward candidates and more sponsorshi­p is coming in as the event grows in stature.

Second this year was Hope Welsh, a 17- yearold sports developmen­t officer who lives and works in Kilmarnock.

Her job with East Ayrshire Council involves the promotion of active leisure, learning and well- being at the level of schools and community.

She received a silver salver and £ 500.

Two apprentice­s tied for third place, each receiving a silver salver and £ 250.

Sharing the honours were Lauren Gracie, a 22- year- old engineerin­g apprentice from Maybole, and Liam Madden, a 20- year- old apprentice mechanic from Saltcoats.

Lauren works for SAS Internatio­nal, a company which manufactur­es bespoke architectu­ral metalwork at a number of locations throughout the UK.

She was the first female engineer to be taken on at the company’s factory in her home town.

Liam was working for North Ayrshire Council at their Kilwinning Transport Hub when the candidates were being assessed but he has since moved to Mercedes.

This year, for the first time, the organisers introduced a merit award which carries a prize of a silver salver and £ 100.

The judges were captivated by the story of a young man who found himself the perfect job after initial reservatio­ns about entering the world of work.

The recipient of this special accolade was Isaac Paterson, a business admin apprentice with East Ayrshire Council. He is 18 years of age and lives in Kilmarnock.

His job involves him in handling a wide range of enquiries within customer service.

The awards were presented by the Deacon Convener of Irvine Trades William Dickson, Late Convener Roddie Fraser and the 2018 winner Eoin Curtis of Ayr.

Compere for the evening was former grade one referee Willie Young.

Organiser Sir Brian Donohoe said: “Our aim has always been twofold – to highlight to school leavers the value of a career in industry and to encourage companies to reopen employment channels to young people.

“I have no doubt we have achieved that and, in three years, have firmly establishe­d this event in Ayrshire’s social calendar.”

 ??  ?? Prize guy Robbie McInnes takes the acclaim after landing his award
Prize guy Robbie McInnes takes the acclaim after landing his award

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