Ten young apprentices recognised as future energy industry stars at Drax Group apprentice awards 


IN A night of celebration near Selby in North Yorkshire, ten young apprentices at Drax Group were hailed as future energy industry stars at the annual Drax Group Apprentice Awards. The ceremony brought together apprentices from various sectors across the company’s UK operations, honouring their remarkable contributions and dedication to Drax.

The standout star of the evening was Josh Smith, a 28-year-old apprentice from Oban, whose exceptional work at Drax’s iconic ‘Hollow Mountain’ Cruachan Power Station earned him the coveted titles of Apprentice of the Year (Year 4 Craft) and the prestigious ‘Paul Chambers Outstanding Achievement Award 2023.’ Smith, known for his pivotal role in delivering several complex projects at Cruachan, also managed to earn an additional Higher National Certificate (HNC) during the year, showcasing his commitment to continuous learning and professional growth.

Expressing his gratitude, Josh Smith shared, “I’m grateful to everyone at Cruachan for the incredible opportunity and the invaluable lessons I’ve learned. The support and mentorship have been instrumental in my professional growth. The knowledge and skills acquired here have prepared me well for future challenges. I look forward to applying what I’ve learned and continuing to progress in my career.”

Among the other outstanding apprentices recognised at the event was Erin Rodger, a 17-year-old Human Resources apprentice from Thorpe Willoughby, a village close to Drax Power Station. She received the Business Apprentice of the Year (Level 2-4) award, commended for her can-do attitude, positive example for colleagues, and her confidence, commitment, and ability to tackle any given task.

Erin expressed her pride, saying, “I’m really proud of myself for winning this award. It feels amazing to have been recognized for my work and growth over the last year. I have learnt so much already at Drax, and I’m looking forward to my second year.”

The Drax Group Apprentice Awards ceremony also featured Ian Kinnaird, Drax’s Scottish Assets Director, as one of the hosts. Kinnaird praised the work of all the apprentices, emphasising the unique talents they bring and the perspectives they contribute to the company.

“It is fantastic to be able to give young people the first step in their careers through our apprenticeship program here at Drax. Our apprentices have unique talents and bring new perspectives that we can all learn from. All of the award winners and nominees should all be extremely proud of themselves, and we look forward to seeing how their careers progress here at Drax,” he said.

The winners in various categories included Craft Apprentice of the Year (Scotland, Year 3) – Paul Firth, Craft Apprentice of the Year (Scotland, Year 1) – Lewis Bennett, Technical Apprentice of the Year (Year 1) – Jack Woods, Technical Apprentice of the Year (Year 2) – Sam Easthill, Technical Apprentice of the Year (Year 3) – Declan Farmer, and Technical Apprentice of the Year (Year 4) – Simran Ley.

Drax’s craft and technical apprenticeship initiative, spanning four years, provides new recruits with an opportunity to work alongside highly qualified engineers, gaining skills in three key engineering disciplines: Mechanical, Electrical, and Control & Instrumentation. In addition to engineering roles, Drax also offers apprenticeship opportunities in business support areas such as HR, cybersecurity, IT, facilities, and network security.

As Drax progresses with plans to expand its new pumped storage hydro site at Cruachan in Scotland and deploy bioenergy with carbon capture (BECCS) at the power station in Selby, the opportunities for apprentices within the renewable power industry have never been greater.

For more details about Drax and its initiatives, visit Drax

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