THE MANUFACTURING Apprentice of the Year award went to James Wright of Solenis.

James expressed his delight after being presented with the award at the ceremony.

“I’m chuffed, to be honest,” he said.

“It’s really good for us as a site to have won this award.

“It’s given us an opportunity to show that the apprenticeship programme is a big thing going forward.

“To win this award - not just for me, but for the company and for other apprentices - is amazing.

“This is what we want to see more of in the future, and we hope that we can keep this trend going.”

After being nominated earlier, the materials manager said that he hoped to give back to others after his own successful journey

James, who was once an apprentice himself, said: “I stepped forward to mentor an apprentice, as I know people who did the same for me, so I wanted to help others.

“We’re trying to bring young people into the manufacturing industry.

“I want to act as an ambassador for supply chain and people involved.”

There were only two nominees for this category, as opposed to three.

The other nominee who was in the running was Kyle Elliot, an apprentice mechanical design engineer who works for Leeds and Skipton-based Guyson.

After his nomination, he said he hoped that this award category could help to improve the way people see apprenticeships.

“It’s good that people are starting to see apprenticeships for what they are,” he added.

“Rather than seeing uni as the only forward and thinking that apprenticeships are what people go for if they have nothing else to do.

“In secondary school I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but going into engineering has all gone well.

“I did engineering at sixth form, and then I went to Guyson.

“The award nomination just turned up in my emails quite randomly, but I guess it’s because I’ve done a couple newspaper bits and bats before.

“One thing I want to learn is robot programming - that would be really cool to learn and incorporate into my job, and go from there, really.”