TWO young engineering technicians have been recognised as the best in the country.
Anthony Smith and Scott Pearson shared first place in The Welding Institute’s (TWI) prestigious annual awards ceremony at Cambridge University.
Anthony, 21, won Technician of the Year while Scott, 22, was named Advanced Welding Technician.
They were named TWI’s best technicians for the whole of the UK after both had scooped regional honours earlier in the year.
Both graduated from Hartlepool College of Further Education and had completed apprenticeships at offshore fabrication yard Heerema, where they now work.
The college has supplied hundreds of apprentices to Heerema over the past 20 years, but this is the first time two of its apprentices have won the top national honour.
Anthony said: “I’m really pleased to get the award.
“I have really enjoyed my time at college and working at Heerema, the training I received is unmatched anywhere. I now have the skills and experience to progress to become a fabrication co-ordinator, estimator and eventually an engineer.”
The winners impressed the judging panel with their portfolios which highlighted their skills, competence and qualifications.
Anthony and Scott spent four years at the college and left with NVQ Level 3 qualifications in Fabrication and Welding Engineering and Advanced Modern Apprenticeships.
Their former tutor, Jim Shanks, said: “It’s a tremendous achievement for Anthony and Scott and a great honour for the college and Heerema.
“We are absolutely delighted they have proved they are the best in the country and I’m certain they will have long and rewarding careers.
“It proves that here in the North East and particularly Hartlepool College of Further Education we can produce the highest calibre apprentices and technically skilled people to meet the demands of industry.”
Heerema has a long-standing relationship with the college and has recently taken on its first female welding and fabrication apprentice, Joanne Taylor, who is another former student of the college.
Alan Lloyd, director of Heerema Hartlepool, said: “It’s so important that we encourage companies to take on apprentices especially in industries such as welding and fabrication.
“We have a skills gap with an ageing workforce so it’s essential that young people are coming through with the right skills and attitude to succeed.”