Over 250 people attended the CPA 'Stars of the Future' awards, which took place at the Heart of England Conference and Events Centre. The awards are intended to reward outstanding apprentices and trainees in the construction plant sector. This year the CPA received 72 nominations, which is the highest ever entry figure in the programme’s 10-year history.

On the day, the accolades were won by:

National Plant Mechanic of the Year (Level 2) Jack Howell of Marubeni-Komatsu and NSCG Stafford College

National Plant Technician of the Year (Level 3) Jack Chubb of Phoenix Hire & Sales and Bridgend College

Plant Operative of the Year Eleanor MacMillan-Currie of WM Currie and Son

Plant Installer of the Year Jake Hodgson of Wolffkran

Lifting Technician of the Year Steve Lumb of Wolffkran

Hire Controller of the Year Yasmin Bell of Sunbelt Rentals

Best Personal Statement Tom Baxendell of Bachy Soletanche and Reaseheath College

Judges’ Special Award Luke Cooper of Boels Rental and Reaseheath College

“The standard of entries for Stars of the Future this year was exceptional and the judges certainly had a difficult task on their hands choosing the winners. This year’s nominees were in contention for some fabulous prizes, including tool kits, training courses, iPads, an overseas trip to visit a crane manufacturing plant and a trip to the Bauma exhibition in Munich, Germany. It really is pleasing to see the future of our industry is in safe hands,” said CPA Chief Executive Kevin Minton.

Former television newsreader, presenter and journalist Merryn Myatt hosted the event and, prior to the presentation of the awards, she co-ordinated two ‘chat’ sessions. These were with Stars of the Future judges - Arran Willis of Liebherr GB, Kirsty Archbold-Laming of Southern Hoist Services and Siôn Morgan Jones of ACOP Group - former winners Jim Baraclough of L Lynch Plant Hire & Haulage who was National Plant Operative of the Year in 2021, Danielle Taylor of Flannery Plant Hire who was National Plant Operative of the Year in 2020 and Dan Pickles of LC Plant Services who was National Plant Mechanic of the Year in 2018, plus Peter Chapman of Askham Bryan College who received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the event.

Nationally there are around 900 apprentices across the six main plant-based occupations. The awards categories for 2022 reflect the key occupations in the construction plant sector and correspond with the apprenticeships that are available.