A FORMER Cornish school pupil, who is now an apprentice carpenter with Barratt Homes’ has won the prestigious South West National Apprenticeship Award 2021.

Henry Powell has also now been shortlisted as one of three national finalists for National Apprentice of the Year 2021 and will attend a glittering ceremony in London on December 1.

Eighteen-year-old Henry Powell from Plymouth, is building much-needed new homes at Chapel Gate, Launceston.

Henry joined the nation’s leading housebuilder Barratt Homes in 2019 straight from school. Despite the challenges of training during the global pandemic, Henry has excelled at his level 2 carpentry and joinery apprenticeship to secure the coveted title of South West regional winner. He will find out if he has been crowned National Apprentice of the Year at the ceremony in London.

Henry attended Saltash Community School and says he always wanted to learn a construction skill and follow in the footsteps of his grandad who was an electrician and let Henry help with odd jobs around the house when he was young.

Henry said: “When I was a kid my grandad would let me help him and I really enjoyed it. Once we built a garden shed though I may have been more of a hindrance at that age.  Later at secondary school, my teacher knew about the Barratt Homes apprenticeship programme and she put me in touch with them and I haven’t looked back. I really liked the idea of being paid to learn rather than the university route where you have to pay. And it’s really rewarding to be helping to build the new homes we really need here near to where I grew up.”

Henry started his apprenticeship at Barratt Homes’ Lucerne Fields development in Ivybridge, helping to build two, three and four bedroomed homes and was surprised how quickly he moved from learning the basics to more difficult tasks on-site.

“It wasn’t long before I was installing roof joists as part of the carpentry team under supervision, it was challenging work but I always felt supported by my mentor. From the start I have really enjoyed the variety of the work. No two days are the same, there are so many different jobs from heavy duty roofing work outside to more detailed joinery inside working on fixtures and fittings. I was at Lucerne Fields for a year and I got a real sense of achievement watching the houses going up and knowing that I had been involved in creating those homes.”

After his apprenticeship Henry plans to stay with Barratt Homes to complete the next level of his training. He is delighted his hard work has paid off in becoming the regional South West winner and in the running for the national title. He added: “I am really pleased to be shortlisted for the final.  I was the first in my class to get onto an apprenticeship scheme and since then several of my classmates have followed me because it is such a great way to work, learn and get a valuable qualification at the same time.”

Ross Faragher, managing director, Barratt David Wilson Homes Exeter, added: “We are so proud of Henry who has worked incredibly hard during his apprenticeship and we are thrilled he is the South West regional winner with a chance of being the National Apprentice of the Year.  Throughout the COVID pandemic, we have continued to take on apprentices so that we can deliver much-needed new homes throughout the South West region. The enthusiasm and thirst for learning that Henry and all the other apprentices show is inspiring and a real boost for everyone they work with. As the nation’s leading housebuilder we are absolutely committed to developing new talent for the future of the construction industry.”

Barratt and David Wilson Homes currently employ 14 apprentices across Cornwall and Devon as well as higher and degree level apprentices working in sales, technical and commercial departments. Apprenticeships are available to people who have just left school or college, those looking for a new challenge or even those who have already started working towards a career in house building.