A Seddon apprentice is on the verge of becoming Britain’s best brickie after beating out the competition at the SkillBuild North West regional heat and securing a place in the national finals.
Seddon’s bricklaying apprentice Jake Horoszczak, 22, won first place in the competition’s regional leg and will now go on to represent his employer alongside Tameside College in the national finals in autumn 2016.
SkillBuild, which is the UK’s largest multi-trade competition and run by the CITB, saw more than 150 trainees compete in the North West regional round at Stockport College where they were judged by industry experts.
Following his win, Jake said: "First and foremost, Seddon have given me an opportunity and I know that can’t be wasted. That is why I’ve taken the chance with both hands and given it all my all.
"I have had an amazing time as an apprentice, and now I get to put all my training and expertise to the ultimate test as I prepare for the national championships later this year.”
Jake’s competition triumph is not the first time he has been in the spotlight for his achievements, having previously been recognised by his employer as ‘The One to Watch’ and ‘at the firm’s annual Building Skills awards.
The young apprentice has been putting his excellent skills to use at Seddon’s Hindley Town Yard development for Wigan and Leigh Homes, which will see 25 one and two bedroom apartments alongside eight, two bedroom bungalows built for affordable rent in Hindley.
Jake’s mentor Kevin Ripley on the Hindley scheme puts Jake’s admirable progression down to his strong work ethic and personality. Kevin said: "I’ve worked with a few apprentices over the years and Jake is definitely the most polite.
"Unlike many youngsters, if you ask him to do something, he does it. He gets stuck in and he works hard, completing his work to a very high standard”.
Seddon has a long heritage in providing apprenticeships, having trained the next generation of talent for 80 of its 120 year history.
The firm trains all its apprentices for three and a half years to obtain NVQ Level 2 and NVQ Level 3 – and sees 90 percent of its apprentices stay on with the firm after they have completed their training.
Tony Costello, Head of Training at Seddon, is instrumental in shaping and overseeing the company’s apprenticeship programs. Tony said: "Jake is a prime example of the fantastic talent we nurture at Seddon. We are incredibly proud of his success so far and wish him the best of luck at the national finals this autumn – we will be cheering from the side lines.
"However, there is a danger that people of Jake’s skill will be lost.
"There are 70,000 people on full time, industry related college courses throughout the UK who are unable to get an apprenticeship with a construction firm. It is time that construction firms step up to the plate and ensure there places available for apprentices to get hands-on training and develop their careers.”
Seddon often sees 500 people apply for its yearly intake of apprentices, demonstrating the demand for apprenticeships in the North West alone. The firm announced in March that it is currently recruiting for its 2016 intake of apprentices to start in September.