Islay apprentice awarded Apprentice of the Year in industry awards

Pictured at the awards ceremony are John Bond (CITB), Callum McIntyre, Callum Mackintosh, Eleanor Macmillan-Currie, Gilly Butler (Finning).

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Eleanor Macmillan-Currie from W&M Currie & Son on the Isle of Islay has been named Apprentice of the Year 2021/2022 by the Scottish Plant Owners Association (SPOA) at its 70th Annual Dinner held in Glasgow on April 7.

Eighteen-year-old Eleanor was inspired by her father to join the construction industry and now works for the family business. She is currently doing an apprenticeship with the CITB as a plant operator.

Speaking about her award, Eleanor said: ‘I am grateful for the nomination, and to be presented the award was just fantastic. I would like to thank my dad and my grandpa for inspiring me and pushing me on this journey, and all the trainers at CITB without whom this just would not have been possible.’ The awards were co-sponsored by Finning UK & Ireland and CITB.

Speaking about Eleanor, Barry Dawson, customer engagement manager for Scotland at the CITB, said: ‘Eleanor was nominated by her NCC instructors as they are absolutely delighted with how she has progressed over the course of her apprenticeship and have tremendous confidence in their abilities. This award is testament to Eleanor’s hard work, commitment and determination and is thoroughly deserved.’

As well as the recognition – a complete surprise on the night – Eleanor was also given a fantastic package provided by Finning. The package, which she will enjoy later in the year, includes a full factory tour of the Caterpillar manufacturing facility for articulated dump trucks in Peterlee. There she will see the complete production line from sheet steel to a fully operational machine, be given the opportunity to drive the machines, and she will also receive an overnight stay in luxury accommodation with an evening dinner with Finning representatives and the president of SPOA.

Gilly Butler, product support sales manager north at Finning, presented Eleanor with her award on the night, saying: ‘I am privileged to be asked to present this award on behalf of Finning, as attracting and retaining talent within our industry is the key to the future.’

As a woman in construction, Eleanor is in a minority but is passionate about the industry and inspiring other young women to consider it as a career.

‘She said: For other girls thinking about a job in construction, I’d say make sure that you put your emotions aside and have a good back bone! In a male oriented industry, men can be quite brutal and some do still have fixed opinions about women in construction. Never listen to them! Keep your head up and show them that women can do anything men can.’

Eleanor has her sights set on the top, aiming to take over the family business. Well on her way on her career path, the next step for Eleanor is taking the transport manager exam so she can take up this role in the family business. She also plans on getting her HGV licence this year as well.