Keith Fenwick named Hotcourses Apprentice of the Year

Keith Fenwick named Hotcourses Apprentice of the Year

A mature Apprentice training on an Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) programme with the Grimsby Institute, Keith Fenwick, has beaten Apprentices from across the UK to be crowned the first-ever Hotcourses Apprentice of the Year.

The Hotcourses Apprentice of the Year Awards were introduced by to recognise how important Apprenticeships are to the UK economy and how hard Apprentices work.

42-year-old Keith has been training with IRISNDT UK, a supplier of Non Destructive Testing (NDT) services based in Immingham, and with the Grimsby Institute on an ECITB programme at the Centre for the Assessment of Technical Competence – Humber (CATCH) for the past six months, after coming to a crossroads in his life that saw him seeking a new career.

Keith explained: “My dad passed away and then I took redundancy from my job as a Telecommunications Installer. I then set up my own business but, because of the recession, it proved really difficult. I did some research and found out about Apprenticeships. I completed an application and then forgot about it.

“Suddenly I found myself unemployed, two days later I got a call saying I’d been accepted for an Apprenticeship and could get funding from North East Lincolnshire Council. It was like it was supposed to happen. I enjoy everything about the Apprenticeship, it’s like my thirst to learn has been awoken.”

Following the announcement Keith was invited to meet Jim Sheard, the CEO of IRISNDT, who was visiting the UK from Canada, and has even been offered a position as a Positive Material Identification (PMI) Inspector at Phillips 66. Keith continued:

“It was just amazing to be nominated for the award. It’s done more for my career than I ever thought possible. I just love doing what I’m doing. Up to six months ago everything was a massive struggle. I can’t believe that I’ve actually won this award. I didn’t even know what Phased Array or Ultasonic Testing, both specialist areas in NDT, were six months ago, now to think that I could be doing it for my career is incredible.”

Matt Goodwin, Trainer Consultant and Keith’s Tutor at CATCH, recommended Keith to be entered for the award, and with the support of Learning Facilitator for Process Technology, Sandy Clarke, Keith made his application. Matt said:

Keith puts so much effort into his training and has a brilliant work ethic. Juggling his personal circumstances, having five children, he is an inspiration to our younger students. I’m really thrilled that he has won the award and proud of everything he has achieved. When people get over a certain age they don’t think that Apprenticeships are an option for them, Keith has shown that age is no barrier.

The judges for the competition were Mark O’Donoghue – Managing Director of Hotcourses, Jade O’Donoghue – Web Editor of Hotcourses, Richard Marsh from the National Apprenticeship Service, Tricia Hartley from Campaign for Learning and Virginia Issac from Inspiring Futures.

Mark O’Donoghue, who headed up the judging panel, said: “We were really impressed by Keith’s entry and the fact that he had been asked to apply by his tutors. We think he’s a genuine role model for younger students and we admire the brave decision he took to go down the Apprenticeship route later in life.”

James Danby, Head of Industrial Programmes for the Grimsby Institute, said: “We’re exceptionally proud of Keith’s achievements and the work of the tutors who have been running the new NDT course. Keith’s attitude has been absolutely fantastic throughout and if he carries on like this I’m sure he will be a Manager of the future. The Grimsby Institute is all about giving people the right employability skills that will enable them to progress to their chosen career.”

Roman Kyrnyckyj, Director of IRISNDT UK, said: “We are very proud of Keith’s achievement. He came to us when we interviewed him as a mature Apprentice and he was firmly committed to changing his career, which was a bold move. “

We are really pleased for Keith and he is going to have a great career with us. We are already planning more training and the news has been welcomed by our head offices in Canada and the US.”

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