The CPA has announced the construction plant sector’s future stars, at one of the industry’s first live events following the COVID pandemic.

Over 220 people attended the CPA 'Stars of the Future' Awards, which took place at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre near Coventry. In spite of recent and prevailing challenges, the CPA received almost 70 nominations, representing one of the highest ever entry figures in the programme’s nine year history.

Rising to the top, the  accolades were won by:

National Plant Mechanic of the Year (Level 2) - Dean Johnston of Liebherr and NSCG Stafford College

National Plant Technician of the Year (Level 3) - Luke Thornton of GGR Group and Activate Apprenticeships

Plant Operative of the Year - Jim Baraclough of L Lynch Plant Hire

Plant Installer of the Year - Liam Basson of Falcon Tower Crane Services

Hire Controller of the Year - Amy Wicks of L Lynch Plant Hire

Best Personal Statement - Beth Doel of HSS and Reaseheath College

Judges’ Special Award - Lucy O’Rourke of Sunbelt Rentals and Reaseheath College

Kevin Minton, Chief Executive of the CPA said: “The standard of entries for Stars of the Future this year was exceptional and we were delighted to welcome the nominees and winners to the awards ceremony and congratulate them in person. The judges really had a difficult task choosing the winners, and it was reassuring to see that the future of the construction plant sector really is in safe hands.”

The CPA Stars of the Future awards are intended to recognise and reward outstanding apprentices and trainees who not only bring ability and commitment to their learning and their work, but also possess those extra capabilities which mark them out as being not only the foundations of the future of the industry, but also potentially its leaders.

The awards categories reflect the key occupations in the plant industry, and correspond with apprenticeships that are available, including new ‘Trailblazer’ apprenticeships in England. A new category for 2021 was 'Plant Installer of the Year'.

This year's awards entailed a two-tier judging process - firstly, a CPA selection panel and a panel of external judges including Martyn Price MBE of O’Halloran & O’Brien, Kirsty Archbold-Laming of Southern Hoist Services, Graham Black of Earthmovers Magazine, Siôn Morgan Jones of ACOP Group, Katie Kelleher of Select Plant Hire, Gary Barnes of Costain, Leigh Sparrow of Vertikal Press and Arran Willis of Liebherr.

As well as receiving national recognition, Stars of the Future winners won a number of prizes on the day, including Snap-on tool kits, training courses, iPads, vouchers and an all-expenses paid trip to Germany to visit a Liebherr crane manufacturing plant.

Well done to all entrants, a full list of which can be found here.