The awards, now in their tenth year, recognised Kier as an employer of apprentices and its commitment to developing its workforce through apprenticeships. This year’s awards attracted 1,600 entries with the region’s winners now going through to a final judging stage. National winners will be announced at the NEC in Birmingham on 14 November.

Kier regional director, Mike Furze, said: “We have seen many benefits in growing our own apprentices and with 40 securing employment with us we have watched them personally mature over a period of time and seen their careers progressing. At Kier we see many apprentices eventually gaining management positions, with 100% of our operational management team all having completed apprenticeships in their youth. With this sort of culture you can see the genuine commitment to our staff.”

The latest intake has seen Kier offer nine youngsters the chance to gain vital on-the-job experience through a 14-month apprenticeship scheme. The new starters, who are aged between 16 and 18 and all come from the local area, are working alongside dedicated Kier mentors while attending classroom sessions at TyneMet College to support their development. TyneMet is also delivering a bespoke ‘Aspiring Managers’ apprenticeship programme to trades and office staff at Kier who want to become managers.

Principal and chief executive of TyneMet College, Jon Vincent, said “We are absolutely delighted that Kier has received this award. It is clearly evident that Kier invests a great deal in its workforce and we as a college will continue to deliver high quality training to its staff to match this investment. TyneMet’s apprenticeship programmes are designed so that employers can train the apprentices to their working practices and standards, safe in the knowledge that the college is delivering the appropriate technical side of the qualification.”