Applications open for 2017 Awards

Applications for the 2017 Young Builder of the Year Awards are now open

Justin Phillips, who was a Highly Commended Finalist at last year’s Awards, launched the 2017 Young Builder of the Year Awards, at Youthbuild UK’s Building Pathways Event, held in Cambridge on 17th May, where he told he had transformed his life from being a young offender to becoming a management trainee. He also said how much attending the Awards Ceremony at the House of Commons had meant to him and encouraged everyone to apply this year.

To find out how to apply please go to the 2017 Awards page.

The Young Builder of the Year Awards celebrate the achievements of young people who despite having to overcome personal barriers have succeeded in training for and or gaining employment in the construction industry.

The competition which began in 2000 is open to young builders from across the UK and is now entering its 18th year.

The twenty finalists will be invited to the Awards Ceremony, which will be held at the House of Commons on Wednesday 18th October 2017, when the winners will be announced.

We are seeking applications from young builders who are: –

  • in employment and/or training aged between 18 and 24 years old.
  • still in education or training (including apprentices) aged between 14 and 18 years old.

For 2017 there is a prize fund of £7,500 and all shortlisted finalists will receive a certificate and tools vouchers.

Subject to the judge’s discretion the winner of the 18 – 24 year old category may receive up to £1,500 (including tools), with further awards to the runners up.

The winner of the 14 to 18 year old category will receive up to £750 (including tools) and their educational establishment will receive tools worth up to £500.

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Queen’s Award for Cyfle Building Skills

Cyfle Building Skills, a long term supporter of Youthbuild UK and current patron, has been awarded  the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation for 2017.

Shane Evans, the 2011 winner of Youthbuild UK’s Young Builder of the Year Awards, is a graduate of Cyfle’s shared apprenticeship scheme.

Many congratulations to everyone involved at Cyfle.

Please see press release below: –

A Regional Shared Apprenticeship Scheme based in Ammanford has been awarded with the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise: Innovation for 2017, the most prestigious business awards in the UK, which is recognised worldwide, after the Prime Minister recommended them for the award.

Cyfle Building Skills, a South West Wales initiative supported by CITB, the Welsh Government and various stakeholders, offers a ground-breaking scheme in which apprentices are taught using new and original methods, the first of its kind in the UK. The scheme operates within five regional boundaries, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot, and the shared apprentices are provided with a theory-based education in the regional colleges whilst also being offered the chance of practical work in various trades.

The project, in which Cyfle’s apprentices work with various employers over the two years rather working with one fixed employer, provides an alternative route into an apprenticeship as opposed to the traditional route, and the flexible shared system of apprentices has been described as the “ultimate work-based learning experience” for future tradespeople.

Since its inception in 2013, the scheme has proved a success. With 70 shared apprentices employed in five trades in its initial year, in the three years since, the number of shared apprentices has doubled spanning across seven trades. To date, the organisation have employed over 280 shared apprentices through the Cyfle scheme.

Such success has seen the regional scheme awarded with the most prestigious award in business in the UK. The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, recognised across the globe, rewards enterprises for “outstanding achievement” in four categories: International Trade, Innovation, Sustainability and Promoting Opportunity. Cyfle’s scheme of innovation in the field of apprenticeships has seen them rewarded with the highly prestigious award.

Cyfle are one of few businesses recognised for the award in their category, with only a small number recognised in each category every year. The South West Wales scheme are part of a minority in Wales and in construction to have ever been awarded the Innovation award.

Since its inception in 1966, only 1357 enterprises have been rewarded with the innovation award, highlighting the prestige of Cyfle’s success.

The organisation submitted an application for the award in late 2016 and were recommended by the Prime Minister to be rewarded for their contribution to innovation in the construction sector. Her Majesty the Queen subsequently approved the recommendation that they should be recognised for their innovative work.

The organisation will be presented with their award at Buckingham Palace later in the year by Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Patrons’ Event 9th March 2017

Many thanks to everyone who attended the Youthbuild UK Patrons’ Event, held in the River Room at the House of Lords on Thursday, 9th March 2017.

In particular we would like to express our thanks to our President, the Rt Hon Baroness of Basildon, for hosting the event.

To all our speakers who inspired and entertained us.

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Rebecca wins Tradeswoman of the Year award

Rebecca Russell, the Runner Up in 2015 Young Builder of the Year Awards, was named as the 2017 Tradeswoman of the Year at the Women in Construction Awards held at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Wednesday 1st March 2017.

Rebecca pictured receiving the Tradeswoman of the Year Award

Many congratulations from all at Youthbuild UK.

We are delighted that Rebecca has continued on her successful career path in construction.

Rebecca will be speaking at the Youthbuild UK Patrons’ Event, to be held at the House of Lords on Thursday 9th March 2017 – we look forward to hearing all about her recent award.

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New Chair of Judging Panel

Alasdair ReisnerYouthbuild UK are delighted to announce that Alasdair Reisner, the Chief Executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), has been appointed as the new Chair of the Young Builder of the Year Judging Panel. Alasdair first became a Judge in 2012. He replaces Stephen Ratcliffe, the current Chair of Youthbuild UK, who has stood down as a Judge after 5 years service.


CECA is the representative body for companies who work day-to-day to deliver, upgrade, and maintain the country’s infrastructure.  With more than 300 members, employing around 250,000 people, split across eight regions, CECA represents firms who together carry out an estimated 70-80 per cent of all civil engineering activity in the UK, worth some £15 billion, in the key sectors of transport, energy, communications, waste and water.

Alasdair was formerly Director of External Affairs, having joined CECA from Construction News in 2008.

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Winners of the 2016 Young Builder of the Year Awards Announced


Youthbuild UK has announced that Chidi Nnebe of Durkan, a London based construction company, is the 2016 Young Builder of the Year.

The UK-wide awards celebrate the achievements of young people who have overcome personal barriers to train and work for the construction industry.  The awards ceremony was held at the House of Commons on 19 October 2016 and the winners were presented with a trophy, framed certificate, a cheque, and vouchers from Toolstation, one of the sponsors of the awards.

Now in its seventeenth year, the Young Builder of the Year Awards has attracted a growing number of entries from the future talent of the UK construction industry each year.

Over 140 people were present at this year’s ceremony, including politicians, senior figures from the construction industry, colleges, training organisations, finalists and their families. All the finalists finished the day with a trip on The London Eye.

Chidi Nnebe, who has recently completed his apprenticeship in bricklaying with Durkan in London, was named as Young Builder of the Year 2016. Chidi had to overcome a series of personal and family traumas before starting his apprenticeship.

Jennifer Danaher, from Wigan, who is a trainee quantity surveyor at Balfour Beatty, was chosen as the Runners Up.

Chloe MacDonald, an apprentice painter and decorator with Baxter and Gillespie, Glasgow, was chosen as the winner of the 14 to 18 year-old category.

Action for Children, Glasgow, received a special award to support their ongoing work in giving opportunities to disaffected/disadvantaged young people to train for the construction industry, including Chloe MacDonald and the 14 to 18 year old category Runner Up Marc Lambert.

John B, Chidi, ChloeChidi Nnebe and Chloe MacDonald with John Bird

Lord Bird of Nottinghill (John Bird the founder of the Big Issue) presented this year’s Awards.

We are grateful to the Rt Hon the Baroness Smith of Basildon, the President of Youthbuild UK, for sponsoring the Awards at the House of Commons.

This year’s high profile judging panel was chaired by Stephen Ratcliffe, formerly Director of the UK Contractors Group; other judges included Neil Carroll, Commercial Development Director of Toolstation; Paul Chandler, Executive Vice President of Skanska; Judy Lowe OBE formerly Deputy Chairman of CITB; Geoff Mann, Industry Training Manager of NHBC and Alasdair Reisner, Chief Executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA).

The sponsors of the 2016 awards were NHBC, Skanska, Toolstation, B&CE Charitable Trust and CECA.

2016 Finalists

The 2016 Finalists, pictured on the House of Commons Terrace

The results of the 2016 Young Builder of the Year Awards are given below: –

14 to 18 Year Old Category
Winner: Chloe MacDonald
Runner up: Marc Lambert
Commended: Harry Knox, Jack Metcalfe, Sophie Tomkins and Luke Wilson

18 to 24 Year Old Category
Winner: Chidi Nnebe
Runner up: Jennifer Danaher
Highly Commended: James Eastham, Pablo Morgan and Justin Phillips
Commended: Jordan Ball, Thomas Barber, Walid Durani, Sam Jones, Kamila Laton, Gary McGeown, Daniel Stonebridge, Charlie Walsh, Billy Welch and Alec Zacharewicz

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John Bird to be guest speaker at the 2016 Young Builder of the Year Awards

JJohnBirdohn Bird, 70 was brought up in an orphanage and served time in a young offenders institution before he was out of his teens. During the turbulent and difficult times of his youth he often slept rough as one of London’s homeless.

He was, as he now frankly reflects, very much a part of the problems of society.

Gradually he realised that the only way to get out of the destructive circle into which he had grown up was to give himself a hand up rather than wait for others to give him a hand-out.

Settling down in his 20’s he began to hold down regular jobs in factories and eventually as a skilled printer.

But he never forgot the hardship and problems of his youth and the ways in which similar deprivation afflicts  tens of thousands of others in similar positions on the bottom rungs of society.

Twenty-five years ago this year, using his knowledge of the print industry, his social vision and energy led him to found the now world-famous Big Issue.

The weekly magazine achieves its mass circulation through being sold on the streets of the UK and only by vendors who are homeless and vulnerably accommodated.

The deal is simple with the proceeds of each copy sold being split equally between the vendor and the publishers. Thus, reflecting John’s own philosophy, the deprived and under-privileged are given a hand-up through earning their money rather than waiting for the hand-out which may do little more than trap them in the homeless poverty from which many crave escape.

The Big Issue, or similar magazines, are now published in dozens of countries around the world – always with the same aims of helping those struggling for a break in society.

In transforming himself from being part of the problem of society into being part of the solution, John has become a globally admired social entrepreneur.

He is invited to speak at major events around the world. Although strictly non-political, John has been consulted by British Prime Ministers and Cabinet Ministers on how best to lift people out of poverty through harnessing their own energies.

As a newly created peer Lord Bird of Nottinghill sits in the House of Lords.

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Finalists announced for the 2016 Young Builder of the Year Awards

Following the judging process the following have been chosen as this year’s finalists: –

14 to 18 Year Olds still in education or training (including apprentices)

Harry Knox                        Barnardo’s – The Hub

Marc Lambert                   Action for Children and Carter Ceilings

Chloe MacDonald            Action for Children and Baxter & Gillespie

Jack Metcalfe                    Farnborough College and Barratt Homes

Sophie Tomkins               St Edmond’s Society

Luke Wilson                       Action for Children and DV McColl


18 to 24 Year Olds in employment and training

Jordan Ball                         Construction Design Centre

Thomas Barber                 Kier

Jennifer Danaher            Balfour Beatty

Walid Durani                    Farnborough College

James Eastham               Eric Wright Construction

Sam Jones                          Coleman & Co

Kamila Laton                    Balfour Beatty

Gary McGeown                JW Joinery

Pablo Morgan                   Notting Hill Housing CTI

Chide Nnebe                     Durkan

Justin Phillips                  Morgan Sindall

Daniel Stonebridge        Notting Hill Housing CTI

Charlie Walsh                   Hobson & Porter

Billy Welch                        Costain

Alez Zacharewizc            Cyfle Building Skills

All finalists are invited to the Awards Ceremony at the House of Commons, held on 19th October 2016, when the winner will be announced

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New Trustee for Youthbuild UK

We are delighted to announce that Kevin O’Connor, the Head of Social Responsibility and Inclusion at Durkan Limited has joined the Board of Trustees.

Kevin’s experience in voluntary sector, working with street homeless alcohol and drugs services together with his extensive construction experience, means that he fully understands and appreciates the Youthbuild ethos.

We very much look forward to working with Kevin in the future.


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2016 Awards are now open

Applications for the 2016 Young Builder of the Year Awards are now open.

There are two categories: –

14 to 18 year olds still in education or training

18 to 24 year olds in employment or training

For further information about the 2016 Young Builder of the Year Awards, please go to the 2016 Awards page, where guidance about completing applications and the application forms can be downloaded from.

Applications close on Friday 29th July 2016.

For 2016, there is an overall prize fund of £7,500.

The 20 finalists will be invited to the Awards Ceremony, to be held at the House of Commons on Wednesday 19th October 2016, when the winner will be announced.

The 2016 Young Builder of the Year Awards are sponsored by NHBC, Skanska, Toolstation, B&CE Charitable Trust and CECA, please see Sponsors page.

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