Loughborough housebuilder William Davis Homes celebrated the 50th anniversary of its apprenticeship awards with the first female winner of its apprentice of the year trophy.
Apprentice electrician Demi Whitehead, 19, collected the same award that her mentor, David Oliver, won in 1975.
Runner-up was fourth-year apprentice joiner Carlo Williams, also 19, while a teamwork award went to third-year apprentice bricklayers Aiden Busy, Matthew Walker and Alex Seymour.
Demi is a fourth-year apprentice who joined the company straight from school in 2018.
She said: “I’m really proud to win this award. When I came for my interview three years ago, I didn’t even think I’d get the apprenticeship.
“I’ve always been more practical than academic. I come from a family of tradesmen and have always helped my dad and grandad.
“I love my job and look forward to continuing my journey with William Davis Homes.”
Demi studies at Loughborough College but most of her time is now spent gaining skills on the company’s Buttercup Fields development at Shepshed.
Mentor David Oliver said: “Demi is a confident apprentice and this shows in her approach to her work and problem solving.
“She is eager to learn new skills and put them into practice. Demi gets on well with other trades and site staff and is a credit to herself and the department.”
William Davis managing director Guy Higgins praised the skills and resilience of the company’s 38 apprentices – as well as the support of their mentors.
He said: “It was wonderful to see the return of our awards night and to celebrate the hard work and achievements of our apprentices in this golden year for young talent.
“Many of our apprentices have had their training disrupted because of the pandemic.
“To see their level of progress despite this challenge is testament to their attitude and commitment.
“Over the years, a large part of our workforce has been built on apprenticeships. It is tremendous to see this homegrown pipeline of skills continuing and I’m delighted to see our first female Apprentice of the Year.
“Apprentices are the future of our company. It is a credit to the mentors and trainers that so many apprentices decide to stay with us, demonstrating that completing an apprenticeship can lead to a long and fulfilling career.”
A large proportion of the company’s current workforce started as William Davis Homes apprentices.
On average, around nine out of 10 stay with the company – higher than the national average.
Seventeen former apprentice of the year winners are still working for the company.
As well as being the Golden anniversary, this year’s awards evening was extra special after the 2020 event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
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