A Nescot student was awarded a special prize on Tuesday night at an event celebrating Surrey apprentices working in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Nathan Goodson-Watts of Direct Heating Solutions, a business set up by former Nescot apprentice Charles Watson, won the Wates cup at SATRO’s annual Surrey County Apprentice Awards.
The award marks the fifth consecutive year the Wates cup, the overall apprenticeship award, has been given to a Nescot apprentice.
Nescot students Sam Holland, a Level 3 Electrotechnical Technology student working with Cleaver Electrical and Level 3 Carpentry and Joinery student William Toms of Tapa Construction were nominated alongside Nathan.
"I knew I’d been nominated but I didn’t think I’d win, so it was a really good surprise," said Nathan, aLevel 3 Plumbing apprentice.
"They told me I’d won because of the standard of my work, but also my work ethic and attitude, so that means a lot and I feel really proud."
Nathan said he aims to set up his own business in the future, and is interested in specialising in renewable energy.
He added: "For me, an apprenticeship was the best choice because I could work and study at the same time. I enjoy what I do, and I look forward to each day.
"A lot of students work part-time in a shop while they’re at college, but if you do an apprenticeship you’re earning money but doing relevant work and getting experience at the same time."
Nathan’s manager Charles Watson, who set up Kingston-based Direct Heating Solutions in 2012, did a plumbing apprenticeship at Nescot in 2002.
"I had worked with apprentices before, so I know how useful and helpful they can be," Mr Watson said.
"It’s hard to find your first job, particularly at the moment, so I wanted to give someone the same chance that someone gave me when I was 17, and I definitely don’t regret it."
Joe Ballantine, Nescot’s Apprenticeship Manager, said: "We’re all really proud of Nathan, Sam and William, and they deserve to have their hard work and success recognised in this way.
"Awards like this are also really important in showcasing the excellent work apprentices do in all kinds of sectors, and showing that they are a great alternative to sixth form or full-time vocational education."
SATRO’s Surrey County Apprentices’ and Scholars’ awards were held this year at the University of Surrey, with each of the county’s four Further Education colleges nominating apprentices.
An independent panel then selected the recipients of the Gordon Cockburn award for contribution to business and the John Coleman trophy for progression, as well as the Wates cup, given to the overall winner.
Last year Nescot plastering apprentice Ryan Crook won the Wates Cup, and in 2012 carpentry apprentice Jason Garner took home the award.
An apprenticeship enables anyone aged 16 and over to learn a profession by combining knowledge and skills in the classroom with practical experience gained at work.
Apprenticeships at Nescot range from Accounting, Computing and Combat Systems Engineering to Customer Service, Childcare and Sport.