Rainham apprentice scoops runner up spot at national awards
A 21 year old from Rainham has secured the runner-up spot in a national competition for young builders after overcoming difficulties when he was growing up and inspiring others.
Mark Whitford, who works on the ongoing £80million regeneration at Orchard Village in Rainham, beat off competition from around 40 apprentices to land second place at the national Young Builder of the Year Awards.
Monica Majumder, Community Development Partnership Manager, recruits apprentices at Orchard Village as part of Circle Housing’s commitment to get young people into work. She said: “Mark is an inspiration to other young people and has showed that with dedication and hard work it is possible to overcome hurdles and be successful. It is an amazing achievement to come second in these awards and we are extremely pleased for him, he thoroughly deserves this success.”
Mark was bullied when he was younger for being poor and was a part time carer for his mother when he was studying for GCSEs. He said: “The barriers I have overcome in my life have only made me more determined to make a better life for my family. I bring money home by doing what I enjoy most which is building new homes for people. This is my first ever job and I’m really grateful for the opportunity - to be honest, it really has turned my life around.”
Youthbuild UK, which runs the awards, seeks to encourage young people 'through the development of construction based support services, and celebrate young people's success' by providing training, qualifications and routes to employment. The awards were presented by Rt Hon Nick Raynsford MP.
Circle Housing has this year helped around 20 young people like Mark to find apprenticeships and runs a number of initiatives in London aimed at getting young people into work, including the Construction Training Centre in Old Ford and Merton Training and Employment Centre (MTEC) in Morden.