The UK’s Top Plant Mechanic Apprentices Recognised at CPA Stars of the Future Event

CPA Stars of the Future national winners
Stars of the Future National Level 2 Winner Adam Counihan and National Level 3 winner Campbell Howie

The future of the construction plant industry is in safe hands judging by the exceptional quality of the entrants at this year’s Stars of the Future awards hosted by the CPA (Construction Plant-hire Association).

Held in association with A-Plant and supported by CITB, CPA Stars of the Future identifies some of the industry’s brightest young talent and almost 750 eligible plant mechanic apprentices entered, representing over 300 companies including Clee Hill Plant, GAP, JCB and Lifterz Work Platforms, plus several independents. Now in its fifth year, this year’s awards presentation was hosted at Hangar 42 adjacent to the main Plantworx showground and the CPA welcomed over 300 apprentices, family members and employers to the event. As well as A-Plant and CITB, the event was supported by JCB, Hawk Group, IPAF, Snap-on Tools, My Future My Choice and Plantworx.

Stars of the Future is a national awards scheme for apprentices in the construction plant industry, run in conjunction with all UK colleges offering plant mechanic apprentice training. This year’s awards were for plant mechanic apprentices who have been assessed throughout the academic year on their work in college and in their work environment. There were a total of 20 regional winners for both NVQ Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices, plus two national winners. Prior to the awards, My Future My Choice led an interactive activity for the apprentices which involved the construction of a crane using materials such as cardboard, rubber bands, syringes and tubing in order to test their engineering and teamwork skills.

The 2017 CPA Stars of the Future Winners
Regional Level 2 Winners – College and Employer
Joe Hobson – Askham Bryan College; Peter Duffy Ltd
Joel Price – Bridgend College; Dawnus
Breon Wickett – Finning Academy
Corrie Russell – Glasgow Kelvin College; Mulholland Plant Services Ltd
Thomas Randall – Myerscough College; Allan J Hargreaves Plant Engineers Ltd
Lorence Day – National Construction College; CITB
Paul Blake – National Construction College (Scotland); Ellon Plant (AB2000)
Daniel Lewis – Reaseheath College; Arnold Plant Hire Ltd
Adam Counihan – Stafford College; Liebherr Great Britain Ltd
William Rhodes – Wiltshire College; Kellands

Regional Level 3 Winners – College and Employer
Liam Nicholls – Askham Bryan College; Elvington Plant Hire
Bradley Davies – Bridgend College; TRJ
Aaron Griggs – Finning Academy
Jonathan Brown – Glasgow Kelvin College; GAP Hire Solutions
Joshua Buck – Myerscough College; Allan J Hargreaves Plant Engineers Ltd
Paul Cairns – National Construction College; Nationwide Platforms Ltd
Campbell Howie – National Construction College (Scotland); Muirhead Plant Ltd
Elliott Harvey – Reaseheath College; Greenshields JCB
Thomas Hillman – Stafford College; H & F Lift Trucks
Sam Robinson – Wiltshire College; Ace Plant

National Winners
Level 2 – Adam Counihan – Stafford College; Liebherr Great Britain Ltd
Level 3 – Campbell Howie – National Construction College (Scotland); Muirhead Plant Ltd

National Level 2 winner Adam Counihan who attends Stafford College and is employed by Liebherr Great Britain said: “It was a complete shock to win the national award but I’m very proud to win it. During my apprenticeship, I’ve kept my head down and tried my hardest with any task that I’ve been given. I’ve got a genuine interest in plant engineering and I hope this award builds a platform for me to make a name for myself.”

Eddie Peak, Adam’s Tutor at Stafford College said: “Adam has outstanding conduct and work ethics and is an excellent ambassador for Liebherr. He is a natural leader and a very good peer for other classmates and colleagues who look up to him.”

National Level 3 winner Campbell Howie from National Construction College (Scotland) and employed by Muirhead Plant based in Kilmarnock said: “I can’t quite believe that I’ve won the national award and I’m really happy. I’ve got a passion for plant engineering and I hope this shows at college and at work. I’ve got ambitions of owning my own business one day. Both my father and grandfather have run their own businesses in the agricultural sector and I’d like to follow in their footsteps.”

Andy Cowan, Campbell’s Tutor at National Construction College (Scotland) commented: “Campbell has the potential to go to the very top in our industry. He has consistently worked to a high level in his three years at college, as the highest achiever in all knowledge tests within our NVQ Level 3 groups, maintaining an A Grade throughout his training.”

The two national winners received Snap-on roll cart tool kits and the 20 regional winners won Snap-on student tool kits. The standard was so high this year that there were also 37 Highly Commended students. Also in contention for the prestigious Level 2 national award were William Rhodes from Wiltshire College and employed by Kellands, and Daniel Lewis from Arnold Plant Hire and Reaseheath College. In contention for the Level 3 national award were Joshua Buck from Allan J Hargreaves Plant Engineers and Myerscough College, plus Greenshields JCB’s Elliott Harvey who attends Reaseheath College.

Over the past five years, Stars of the Future has identified some of the industry’s most promising apprentices. For example, Darragh Spencer won the National Level 2 Stars of the Future award at the 2014 event, and went on to win the National Level 3 award in 2015. Almost instantaneously after winning the second Stars of the Future award he was approached by the Managing Director of Randall Orchard Construction. He was asked if he would be interested in becoming involved with the construction side of the business and helping to manage the company. He took up this opportunity and over the period of 12 months worked his way up to the position of General Manager which he currently holds, working directly beneath the Managing Director.

CPA Stars of the Future winners
CPA Stars of the Future National and Regional winners
My Future My Choice interactive challenge
My Future My Choice interactive challenge