Young Chipping Norton builder takes top prize

Joe Johnson, MD of Chipping Norton Builders, Robbie Powell and Dr Gavin Killip. NNL-151026-171858001
Joe Johnson, MD of Chipping Norton Builders, Robbie Powell and Dr Gavin Killip. NNL-151026-171858001

An employee at Chipping Norton Builders has been named Apprentice of the Year at the Oxfordshire Construction Training Group (OCTG) Awards.

Robbie Powell, 21, was awarded the accolade last Wednesday at the Oxford Thames Four Pillars Hotel. It was attended by a number of Oxfordshire building firms and their nominated apprentices and sponsors.

The guest speaker was Dr Gavin Killip from the University of Oxford who gave an enlightening talk on ‘Construction skills for the 21st Century’.

Robbie was shocked when his name was read out, and said: “I really didn’t think I would win as there were so many other really talented apprentices in the running, and from much bigger companies than ours.

“It was a fantastic feeling and I couldn’t wait to take the trophy to work the next day to show all the lads on site”.

As well as the magnificent trophy, he received a cheque for £125 which he says he will spend on a new wood router for work.

As a previous nominee in last year’s competition, Robbie clinched the top prize this year after passing his course in site carpentry with flying colours.

In awarding Robbie the coveted prize, the review panel’s citation read: “Like the other categories this Award was,indeed, highly competitive and it was extremely difficult to make a choice. The obvious pride this young man takes in his work was more than evident from the time spent with him on site.

It was very clear that what gives him most satisfaction is undertaking a job that ultimately delights the Client. With the attitude, approach and obvious wider-awareness he openly displays, he is a credit to both the industry and himself. Many congratulations.”

The A.C.E. Training Centre in Kidlington are also delighted by Robbie’s win having recognised his abilities early on.

Matt Henson, Robbie’s tutor, said: “Every now and then a student comes through the door that you just know has a gift: it doesn’t happen very often. Robbie is one of those students that have a gift for construction, in particular carpentry. He sets his goals and works towards them in a professional manner without issue or concern”.

Chipping Norton Builders’ MD Joe Johnson was justifiably proud of his prodigy, having employed Robbie for three years.

He said: “Robbie has consistently proved himself to be an important part of the Chipping Norton Builders team. As a site carpenter, his skills continue to impress.

“But Robbie also brings to the team that rare gift in an apprentice: that of maturity beyond his years. Robbie has the ability to be understanding, knowledgeable and charming with clients, representing the company in a way any employer would be proud of.

“He has worked extremely hard at his training, determined to achieve the very best results. He has a real passion for his work, always striving for the very highest standards”.

“Hopefully, we’ll be back to pick up a few more awards, but more importantly we’re securing a skilled team for the future of Chipping Norton Builders”.