This article was published on November 28, 2019
An apprentice joiner from Billingham has been named best in the UK by the British Woodworking Federation (BWF).
Bailey Donkin, aged 20, took home the award at the 2019 BWF Awards in London for his outstanding work, creativity and importance to the team at ERW, where he is currently completing his apprenticeship.
Bailey joined home improvement and restoration specialist ERW in 2017 and secured permanent apprenticeship following the collapse of Carillion where he was training to be a site carpenter.
The role has allowed him to continue his work-placed training on large projects such as the restoration of timber windows and doors at Auckland Castle, Stewart Park and Pendower Hall in Newcastle.
During this time, he has also completed his NVQ Level 2 apprenticeship and progressing in his NVQ Level 3 apprenticeship at Redcar and Cleveland College.
Bailey, who is currently working on the £250k restoration of Manchester’s iconic London Road Fire Station, said: “I’m so pleased to be named as Apprentice of the Year by the BWF and have my hard work recognised, especially ahead of some really talented apprentices from other parts of the UK.
“I’ve always been interested in joinery and carpentry, and ERW has given me the chance to do it as a career. I’ve learned so much about the technical skills of joinery in terms of renovation and restoration, and it’s great to be out site working as part of the team.
“For anyone thinking about a career in joinery, I would definitely recommend an apprenticeship as a way to build a career.”
Phil Tye, Operations Manager and Bailey’s mentor at ERW, said: “We’re all delighted that Bailey has been awarded best apprentice. He’s a natural talent but works so hard to learn new skills and continually meets high standards.
“It’s been a pleasure seeing him grow as a joiner and as a person during his time at ERW. He’s a real credit to himself, his family and his profession.”
Bailey is one of six apprentices currently training with ERW and the second celebrating success, after Marketing and Administration apprentice Sophie Pallister won Apprentice of the Month with her provider iTec.
The company plans to welcome four more apprentices to the team by the end of 2020 as part of its ongoing commitment to invest in the younger generation.
Phillip Wall, Commercial Manager at ERW said: “As a family run company we pride ourselves on nurturing young talent and employ apprentices with a view of them joining us full-time once they’ve completed their studies.
“Investing in apprentices is an important part of our long-term vision. We’re in a specialist industry that relies heavily on the skills of an older workforce. Supporting young people is critical for the future of our company, but also joinery as a trade.”
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I was delighted with the installation process. Steve and Tony worked very hard and took a lot of care around our house. My husband thought we would end up having to redecorate but was amazed that the windows looked like they had always been there. We are delighted and have had a number of positive comments about them. Thank you.
Mr & Mrs C, South Gosforth
Many thanks to ERW Joinery Ltd, our home has been transformed. The quality and installation has exceeded our expectations. The work of your installers has been exemplary, nothing has been a problem and their care and attention to detail is first class. We would recommend you to anyone.
Dr & Mrs M, Ponteland
I just wanted to say a big thank you for a job really well done. All your staff are helpful and the team carried out the installation were tidy and caused minimal disruption. Thank you!
Mr & Mrs N, Eppleby
We are delighted with the product supplied. The leaded windows look really good and very much in character with the house and with the previous windows. The installation team have been very helpful and informative throughout and are a credit to your company. An excellent job and done exactly as per your contract program (which makes a nice change from some of the builders we have used in the past!). Thank you.
Mr & Mrs D, Stockton on Tees
We're not able to carry out installations in your postcode area, however, we can still design and create your door, and you can liaise with a local fitter in your area to install it.