Three outstanding young plasterers have been chosen as finalists for the Plaisterers’ Company’s prestigious ‘Student of the Year”Award 2013.

All three students will be invited to attend the Gala Award Lunch at Plaisterers’ Hall in London on Thursday 7th November 2013 when the Award winner and the runner-up will be announced.

The winner and runner-up will each receive a monetary prize and an inscribed copy of Millar’s the plasterers ‘bible’.  The Award will be presented by the Lord of Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Roger Gifford, who will be attending the Lunch along with many other leading players in the plastering industry.

The judges were very impressed with the quality and abilities of the students and the final decision-making has proved very difficult.  They are convinced that all three have very promising futures in the trade.

The finalists are:

Michael Gavin
Nominated by Michael McGee, South Lanarkshire College, East Kilbride.
Employer: Housing Asset Services, Kilmarnock

Michael is in his third year of study at South Lanarkshire College.  Having completed SVQ Level 3 in Plastering, he is currently working through his Advanced Craft qualification.  He has represented South Lanarkshire College in the regional Skillbuild Competition in 2012 and 2013.  Having been placed 3rd last year, he came 1st in 2013 which should gain him a place at the national competition in Birmingham in November 2013.  Michael has already been awarded the “Apprentice of the Year” in his first two years of study.  He was awarded the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ by his employer and took 3rd place in the prestigious James Birnie Award.  His tutor says, “Michael is able to work excellently both as an individual and as part of a team.  He is a well rounded and mature-minded trainee who stands out from his peers.”

Mark Singleton
Nominated by Rob Wilson, Accrington & Rossendale College, Accrington.
Employer: Housing Pendle, Lancashire

Mark began his plastering studies through an evening course in September 2010 whilst working as a plasterer/roofers labourer.  He quickly showed his abilities and his employer agreed to support him on a two-day per week adult plastering diploma course.  This involved Mark having to do extra hours to comply with his employer’s existing training policy.

His skill and determination have paid off.  He obtained a distinction in his Level 2 Diploma.  His portfolio of work showed “a pride in his work which is all too often lacking in today’s learners” and is now being used as an example for other learners in an effort to inspire them to take pride in their work.  Mark’s Level 3 course began in September 2012.

He was the natural choice to represent his college in the local Skillbuild competition which he won.  Mark is planning to continue his studies at Accrington College progressing to Level 4 HNC.  His tutor describes Mark as someone who is willing to “take the lead and come up with ideas to improve techniques and timing.   He will reap the rewards as will the construction industry as a whole in the form of an excellent craftsperson.”

Kenneth Wilson
Nominated by Colin McCaughey, Belfast Metropolitan College
Employer: Wilson plastering, County Antrim

Ken began his studies at Belfast Metropolitan College at the age of 16 and immediately showed real aptitude for plastering.  He completed his Level 2 Diploma at the end his second year at the same time winning the College Inter-Campus Competition and the Northern Ireland Skillbuild competition.  This was quickly followed by being selected for the UK Squad for Worldskills 2013.

His standard of work in the final selection process was very high and he was selected to represent the UK team at Worldskills 2013 in Leipzig in July 2013, where he was awarded a Medallion of Excellence.  The time commitment for Worldskills has delayed his final plastering examinations but his tutors believe he will finish a very high standard.  His tutor says, “Ken has trained extremely hard to get where he is now and I have witnessed him developing into a very competent and confident plasterer.”

The Master of the Worshipful Company of Plaisterers, Ms De Bradshaw, said: “The Plaisterers’ Company is committed to encouraging the highest standards in our trade.  The ‘Student of the Year’ Award recognizes talent, enterprise and commitment.  I am impressed with this year’s finalists who are a credit to themselves, their colleges and their employers.  Our historic trade needs more young people of this quality to help the recovery of our national economy.”