Future leaders honoured at record-breaking awards ceremony

THE UK’s top plant apprentices and trainees have been honoured at the Construction Plant-hire Association’s (CPA) Stars of the Future Awards 2023 following a record number of entries.

Just under 100 nominations were received – an increase of more than 30% on the previous highest total.

Almost 350 people attended the awards ceremony at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre in Fillongley, near Coventry, hosted by former TV presenter and journalist Merryn Myatt.

The 11 judges involved described the competition this year as the ‘most fiercely contested’ awards yet. Due to the high calibre of nominations, additional sub-categories and special awards were subsequently introduced to recognise the ‘exceptional talent and commitment’ of the nominees, the CPA explained.

The winners of each national category were as follows:

  • National Plant Mechanic of the Year (Level 2) – John Murray of John Maciver & Sons and National Construction College Scotland
  • National Plant Technician of the Year (Level 3) – Bradley Baker of GGR Group and The Growth Company
  • Hire Controller of the Year – Teah Stapleton of Kilnbridge Construction Services
  • Young Plant Operatives of the Year – Joint Winners Chloe Jones of Flannery Plant Hire and Harnoorpreet Singh Gill of L Lynch Plant Hire & Haulage
  • Plant Operative of the Year – Roksana Przybylska of L Lynch Plant Hire & Haulage
  • Plant Installer of the Year – Spencer Bond of Wolffkran
  • Lifting Technician of the Year – Lee Tanner of Wolffkran
  • Individual Apprentice Mentor of the Year – Dean Duru of Boels Rental
  • Group Apprentice Mentor of the Year – Gez Bonner of L Lynch Plant Hire & Haulage
  • Best Personal Statement Award – Shannon Bristow of Speedy Services and Askham Bryan College
  • Judges’ Special Award – Sean Palmer of Gorrel Equipment Solutions and Bridgend College

Stu McInroy, chief executive of the CPA, said, “Having joined the CPA only recently, this was my first experience of Stars of the Future and it was a wonderful experience of excellence. Award winners received some fabulous prizes, including tool kits, training courses, iPads and an overseas trip to visit a Liebherr crane manufacturing plant in Germany, and we would like to congratulate all nominees and winners.

“I should like to thank all our sponsors, without whom we simply could not stage such an event or reward our award winners so handsomely, and of course each of our 11 judges for the time they have taken sifting and assessing the nominations and selecting the winners.”

At the ceremony, Stu made special mention of Kevin Minton, who has recently retired as chief executive of the CPA. Kevin introduced and developed the concept of a Stars of the Future awards programme to give apprentices and trainees recognition and identify those who will be the industry leaders of tomorrow. Within 10 years, Stars of the Future has grown from being a somewhat low-key event held in a muddy field for college-nominated plant mechanics into being a major event encompassing all plant-based apprenticeships and other occupations.

This year, Stars of the Future had a two-tier judging process – the CPA selection panel and a panel of external judges who decided the eventual winners of each category. The external judging panel included Arran Willis of Liebherr-GB, Siôn Morgan Jones of ACOP Group, Kirsty Archbold-Laming of Southern Hoist Services, Leigh Sparrow of Vertikal Press, Graham Black of Earthmovers Magazine, Tim Brownbridge of BAM Nuttall and independent judge Rob Allen.