The College of West Anglia

College Apprentice Scoops Top National Prize in British Woodworking Awards

Henry Acres, apprentice at the college and Holbeach-based joinery firm JT Ward, has won the prestigious Apprentice of the Year award sponsored by the CITB at this year’s national British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Awards.

Now in their tenth year, The BWF Awards celebrate the best of the best in UK woodworking, recognising technical innovation, design, process efficiencies, health & safety and the rising stars of the industry.

JT Ward Joinery is a manufacturer of bespoke joinery, including kitchens, bedrooms, staircases, windows and doors. Henry Acres joined the firm in mid-2017 as an apprentice – and hasn’t looked back since. The company enrolled him on an NVQ diploma in carpentry and joinery at the college’s King’s Lynn campus , where he has completed his level 2 and is now progressing to level 3.

Helen Hewitt, Chief Executive of BWF who presented the award to Henry, said:

“I’m delighted for both Henry and JT Ward. Henry has shown himself to truly be a star of the future in British joinery and woodworking.  It’s clear that he has a fantastic attitude to work, along with his high standards of workmanship and skills.

“We received an exceptional number of entries this year, so to come out on top is no mean feat. Our awards are a chance to showcase the talent and professionalism in the industry, and bring people together to celebrate their achievements. This year’s awards were a great success once again and underline the huge contribution the woodworking and joinery sector makes to UK industry and manufacturing.”

Commenting on his achievement, Henry Acres said: “It means a lot to me to win this award. I’m really proud, and it is a great way to show the company my appreciation for the time, effort and money they have put into my training. We do a lot of different work as a company and this award will be good for business.”

Discussing his career choice, Henry added: “My dad was a carpenter and I’ve followed in his footsteps. I’d definitely recommend joinery to others as a career – each day is different and I really enjoy it.”

Martin Ward, director of JT Ward said: “We have been employing apprentices for over 14 years and we believe that Henry is one of the most conscientious and talented apprentices we’ve ever had the pleasure to employ. He has become a real asset to our company and we believe he is a rising star of the joinery industry.”