A FORMER college apprentice is celebrating after he won a top award at a prestigious ceremony.
Wayne Larkin, who completed a plumbing apprenticeship at Hartlepool College of Further Education (HCFE), beat off competition from thousands of potential hopefuls to be named North East Student of the Year.
The 21-year-old won the title at the Constructing Excellence in the North East Awards ceremony.
Since completing his one-year apprentice in plumbing and heating last year, Wayne has started his own plumbing business.
He said: “I’m over the moon. I didn’t think I would be able to win it just by what I had done but obviously I did.
“It was a brilliant course and I loved it.
“I would choose an apprenticeship over university any day of the week.”
Wayne, from the Fens area in Hartlepool, won a glass trophy and picked up £750 for the award which was held at the Marriott Hotel, in Newcastle.
He was nominated for the honour by his college tutors and made it onto the shortlist.
Unfortunately, Wayne could not be at the black-tie event to collect his award because he was on holiday in Cyprus at the time.
The Constructing Excellence in the North East Awards have become one of the highlights of the business calendar.
Graham McPhail, director of apprenticeships at HCFE, said: “Anyone whose anyone in construction goes to it.
“Wayne sailed through everything at college without even thinking about it, even the gas qualifications which some people find quite difficult he did in a short space of time.
“He’s done fantastically well and his success is brilliant for the college and also for Hartlepool.”
It marked a hat-trick of awards for Wayne, who won Plumber of the Year and Apprentice of the Year at the HCFE’s annual awards ceremony in November.
Wayne attended the college course one day a week while working for a Hartlepool plumbing business he joined after leaving school.