The only way is up for Student of the Year Ryan after winning a pitched roofing apprenticeship

The sky’s the limit for 17-year-old Newcastle college student, Ryan Baxter, who has won the prize of a pitched roofing apprenticeship with Hodgson Sayers.

Ryan was crowned ‘Construction Student of the Year’ for his determination and drive to succeed having completed a bricklaying course at Newcastle College.

Roofing and building specialist Hodgson Sayers sponsored the award, offering Ryan a three-year pitched roofing apprenticeship as part of its partnership with Newcastle College to develop and encourage young people in the region who are looking to forge careers in the construction sector.

Ryan, from Wallsend, said: “I am thrilled to have won the competition and to be honest when I set out on the bricklaying course I didn’t really have much of a clue as to what I could potentially achieve.

“When I left school a year ago I had little direction but bricklaying seemed the obvious choice to me and something that I was interested to learn more about.

“I enrolled at Newcastle College and although I found aspects of the course challenging, I stuck in and was surprised to learn I was nominated for Construction Student of the Year with the winner gaining an apprenticeship with Hodgson Sayers. I knew the company had won awards and has students at the college and I couldn’t believe it when I was informed I was the winner.

“This is a fantastic opportunity and I can’t wait to start the role in August. It could have been very easy for me to take a different route in life but by sticking in I have been rewarded.”

Newcastle College tutor, Tony Gallon, said: “We launched the Construction Student of the Year Awards to reward a specific student’s hard work. In recent years, we have forged a very close relationship with Hodgson Sayers and we were delighted when the company offered to sponsor the award and offer an apprenticeship in pitched roofing to the winner.

“Following the completion of a bricklaying course, Ryan was crowned the winner. Through the support from his tutors and family he has worked very hard to progress his skill set and we have seen his determination to develop. Ryan has not always been an easy learner, but picks himself up and by focusing on the course he has achieved a lot. Thanks to Hodgson Sayers, Ryan now has the golden opportunity to progress his career with a much sought after placement. We wish him the very best of luck on his new journey and will continue to assist and support him during his apprenticeship.”

Based in Stanley, County Durham, Hodgson Sayers currently employs over 100 staff of which approximately 10% are apprentices. The company takes on a new cohort of apprentices every year with the main disciplines being slating, tiling, bricklaying and felt roofing.

Managing Director at Hodgson Sayers, John Sayers, said: “We would very much like to welcome Ryan to the team and to congratulate him on his success.

“We chose to sponsor this award and to offer the apprenticeship as part of our commitment to bridging the skills gap. Developing a talent pool of young people in the area is a top priority. We work closely with the college to assess and identify knowledge gaps and prepare our students for working life. Upon completion of their studies they are guaranteed employment with us.

“We believe that with the right investment from us and support from our training providers, we can greatly improve our overall quality standards whilst having a positive impact on the apprentices we employ.”