Icopal Apprentice of the Year winner, Kieran Forster, credits his mentor, Steve Jones, for his astounding national success.

I was very lucky to be paired with Steve Jones a year ago, at the beginning of my apprenticeship in flat roofing and our working relationship developed quickly. Little did either of us know at that time how successful a pairing it would turn out to be.

I think Steve identified that I was keen and willing to learn and like him wanted to get the job done to the best of my ability. It quickly became apparent that we were quite similar in personality in that we are both slightly reserved but quietly confident. This is an important and interesting point because if either of us had been different in personality it might not have worked as well as it has.

Early on we identified areas of weakness in my skills and worked on them. I knew that I could go to Steve for advice and he would give it. I have really learnt a lot from him. All of my felting and tiling skills can be credited back to Steve as he took the time to show me how to do it properly.

It then moved on to the next stage, which is based around trust. Steve gave me the independence to work on projects by myself and while I would stumble he knew that this was an important part of the training – making mistakes and learning from them. From my viewpoint I knew that if I did make mistakes I was not going to be criticised. As long as I did my best Steve would be more than happy to help.

I was delighted to be crowned the Icopal Apprentice of the Year in the summer and it was also a chance for me to highlight how a successful partnership can produce an award winner. I did not win the award on my own it was from skills that I had been taught as well as a desire to do well in a trade I am passionate about.

Most recently, I have enjoyed working on a range of schools one of them being St John Boste, Washington and I have also been entered for the Rising Star Award in the Roofing Cladding and Installation Awards, where the roofing sector gives recognition to individuals who have performed with distinction.

It would be fantastic to think that I could win this but I am also very humbled just to be entered and recognised by the company and the sector for my work.