Bernicia’s Lewis scoops top apprenticeship award

Huge congratulations to Lewis Minto – officially recognised as one of Durham’s top apprentices!

Apprentice plumber Lewis, 24, received an engraved crystal trophy, a £50 Amazon voucher and certificate of achievement from Durham’s Vice Lord Lieutenant Michael Poole at the Durham City Freemen’s Awards.

The project was launched 12 months ago by the historic trades organisation Durham City Freemen, supported by New College Durham to showcase the achievements of modern day craft apprentices.

Twenty-five hopefuls were considered across eight trade categories supported by employers across the county – with Lewis in the final shortlist of nine apprentices.

The Durham City Freemen have historic roots in the city – with origins traceable back to the 15thCentury.

Lewis’ awards citation read: “Lewis Minto, a 24-year-old from Witton Gilbert, was the first student in his class to complete his plumbing and gas NVQ, serving as an inspiration to his peers. Labelled a “standout student” by staff, he was able to help and support the progress of his classmates.

“Lewis started his college plumbing course as a full-time student in 2017 but, faced with a shortage of job opportunities in the trade, opted for a change of career as an assistant store manager.

“But his ambition to be a plumber never deserted him and he returned to his studies after being offered a job as an apprentice with Bernicia, a housing company which manages 14,000 properties across the region. He is currently based at the company’s Pity Me offices on the outskirts of Durham.”

New College’s Director of Apprenticeships, Natasha Francis, said they were privileged to be part of the Durham Freemen’s Awards which recognised both apprentices and employers. As a leading further and higher education provider the college appreciated the vital role apprenticeships played in the region’s economy.

“Our courses provide the training and work experience students need to progress their careers and offer employers a cost-effective way to plug the skills gap and upskill their workforce,” said Natasha.

“Their achievements are testament to the enduring legacy of the excellence and craftsmanship which the freemen uphold. We have been incredibly impressed by the passion and dedication the freemen have shown in organising the event. Congratulations are also due to the apprentices – you are the torchbearers whose success lights the way for the future.”

Fully deserved recognition for Lewis – reinforcing what those who work with him everyday know. A talented and popular young man with a great career ahead of him. 😊

Lewis is pictured receiving his award from Michael Poole, Durham’s Vice Lord Lieutenant.