JTL held its annual awards ceremony at the Institute of Engineering and Technology in London’s Savoy Place on 15 March.

The award scheme celebrates the highest achieving young trainees in the building services engineering sector, with candidates nominated from each of JTL’s regions across England and Wales.

The 2017 winner of the JTL national plumbing apprentice award was presented to George Steel from Clacton-on Sea, who is employed by Home Heating Essex.

Mark Brown, Mr Steel’s training officer at JTL, highlighted his commitment and determination to succeed, both at Colchester Institute and in the workplace.

Mr Steel said: “I’m over the moon! It’s just unbelievable to have won my category. Four years ago I was shy and quiet but now I’m completely different – I love meeting people and I’ve got the confidence to go into different people’s homes. It’s thanks to JTL and my apprenticeship that I’ve become the person I am today. I literally don’t think I’d be where I am today without them.”

His mother, Lisa Steel, went on to talk about his struggle with dyslexia on the path to becoming a qualified plumber. She said: “George has grown up so much while he’s been doing his apprenticeship. It’s given him a direction and he’s now got a great skill set to work with.

“He’s severely dyslexic and had only previously encountered negativity, even at school. The apprenticeship offered him a solution and he’s worked hard all along, even seeing a tutor to help him get one step ahead with the college work, so he really deserves this success.”

Mr Steel did some work experience with a local company, Home Heating Essex, while he was still at school. They were so impressed with his work ethic and practical abilities that they offered him a part time job and the opportunity to join them as an apprentice on a JTL training scheme.

Specialising in electrical and plumbing apprenticeships, JTL has trained 35,000 apprentices to date. This year’s finalists were chosen from a 6,500 strong cohort.

“We have recognised and celebrated some brilliant young talent at our awards ceremony,” said Jon Graham, JTL chief executive. “It’s been a pleasure and an inspiration getting to know our 12 finalists as part of this process.”