Gemma the joiner wins top award

Tutor Gary Wain congratulates Gemma Howell on her award.
Tutor Gary Wain congratulates Gemma Howell on her award.

A joinery apprentice from Kirklees College scooped a national award after being nominated by her employer.

Gemma Howell, who works for Kirklees Council’s Building Services team in Dewsbury, was named Female Apprentice of the Year at the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) Awards.

Gemma, 25, a former pupil of Earlsheaton High School, also studies Level 2 Joinery at Kirklees College’s Brunel Construction Centre in Huddersfield.

She decided to go into construction after working in online retail because she wanted something more ‘hands on’.

“I love the job because it is so varied,” she said. “We carry out repairs in council buildings mainly residential properties, and every day is different. I was really surprised to be nominated for the award and really shocked when I won because it was for apprentices from England, Scotland and Wales.”

Gemma’s tutor Gary Wain said: “Gemma has done brilliantly at college, not just fitting in to an otherwise all male group but excelling.

“She has worked really hard and completed her NVQ before any other members of the group.”

Gemma received her award, which was sponsored by the Construction Youth Trust, at a ceremony at the Hilton Hotel in Leeds.

Visit www.kirkleescollege.ac.uk/apprenticeships to find out more about current opportunities for apprenticeships offered through Kirklees College.