Akisam Mugezi overcame an exceptional field to be crowned Best Overall Winner at the 2018 Berkeley Group Apprentice Awards.
Akisam, who is based at Berkeley's Southall Waterside development, was unanimously backed by the expert judging panel having overcome challenging personal issues to launch his career with FM Conway.
Drawing on his personal experiences, he has gone on to lead an on-site mental health awareness campaign which helps others to identify early symptoms of stress and depression.
Akisam also triumphed in the Best Exteriors Apprentice category, having impressed his colleagues and line manager with his dedication and advancing skills.
The 2018 Apprentice Awards ceremony took place today at The Bridge Theatre, part of Berkeley's One Tower Bridge development in Southwark.
Speaking at the event, Berkeley Group Chief Executive Rob Perrins said: "These awards are a celebration of great vocational training and a chance to reward the hidden heroes who are taking the lead on construction skills.
"We want to recognise the exceptional talent coming into our industry and give apprentices like Akisam the credit they deserve. My sincere thanks and congratulations to all of the winners and nominees."
The full list of award winners include:
Best Plumber Apprentice - Dylan Mallia, Vital Energi
Dylan, based at Royal Arsenal Riverside, is working towards a NVQ level 2 in Plumbing and Heating. Since starting his apprenticeship, Dylan has grown in confidence and excels in customer care. The judges were impressed with his humble attitude and his dedication to mastering his trade.
Best Support Services Apprentice - John Cohen, Barretts of Aspley
John is a Junior Project Manager, working towards a Level 5 Higher Apprenticeship in Sustainable Built Environment. Based at St George's Battersea Reach development, he is working closely with his team to ensure every element is delivered on time and to specification. John impressed with his problem solving attitude and through embracing his responsibilities.
Best Electrical Apprentice - Thomas Olliver-Boddington, K.T. Electrics
Thomas, working for K.T. Electrics on Berkeley's East Broadacres development, is on his way to a level 3 in Electrical Installation. Thomas has taken full advantage of his training, learning from several experienced electricians and combining their best ways of working. He uses his initiative, focusses on site safety and is careful to leave his plots well prepared for the trades that come after him. He is a popular and respected member of the team.
Best Interiors Apprentice - Liam Yilmaz, J A Stott Carpentry
Liam is based at Southall Waterside, working with J A Stott Carpentry towards a NVQ level 2. He works closely with experienced carpenters and uses their feedback to continuously improve. Liam is a keen learner who takes pride in his practical skills and is not afraid to speak up. His focuses and confidence has ensured technical issues are raised early, eliminating potential waste.
Best Exteriors Apprentice and Best Overall Winner - Akisam Mugezi, FM Conway
Akisam is working at Southall Waterside with FM Conway. He has overcome difficult personal circumstances and made profound changes to his life over recent years. Upon moving to London, he dedicated himself to his apprenticeship and is now a valued member of his team. He wants to help others, and has taken the initiative to start a mental health awareness campaign on site - helping others to identify symptoms of stress and depression.
Best Subcontractor working with the Berkeley Group - Lee Marley Brickwork
Lee Marley Brickwork are working closely with several colleges to improve apprenticeship curriculums and ensure students are being taught the skills industry needs. They have hosted a series of 'apprentice days' at their offices, where managers present a mixture of theory and practical assessments to trainees.
They are reaching out to attract more female candidates into construction and they lead by example, with several company directors having started as apprentices themselves.
Division with the Biggest Impact in the Berkeley Group - Berkeley Homes (East Thames)
Defending their win from last year, Berkeley Homes (East Thames) impressed with their school engagement programmes which have seen nearly 200 work placements hosted in the past four years. They took part in Open Doors again in 2018, and have shown real commitment to promoting the industry.
Initiatives include sponsoring a local secondary school to deliver an initial 10 week Design Engineer Construct programme, with the hope that from next year it will be delivered at GCSE level.
Best Industry Champion within the Berkeley Group - Mariyana Stoyanova, Berkeley Homes (Capital)
Mariyana works as an Assistant Site Manager at South Quay Plaza. She organises regular reviews with all apprentices, making sure they are looked after and that the tasks they perform advance their learning.
Realising the vital role subcontractors play in apprenticeships across the Berkeley Group, Mariyana is looking to implement a recognition scheme to raise awareness and to help smaller contractors enjoy the benefits of apprentices.
Best Apprentice within the Berkeley Group - Ruby Lee, Berkeley Homes (East Thames)
Ruby is already a role model for others, becoming a site Sustainability Champion and having been singled out as a positive case study by the Considerate Constructors Scheme. Ruby is dedicated to encouraging more young women to consider a career in construction; acting as a Women in Construction Advocate; an Ambassador for YAAN and other networks. Her energy and professionalism make her a respected and valued member of the team.
The winners were chosen by a panel of judges including Cllr Carole Williams, Cabinet Member for Employment, Skills & Human Resources at the London Borough of Hackney, Cllr Peter Mason
Cabinet Member for Prosperity, Skills, Employment & Transformation at the London Borough of Ealing, Michael Heanue, Principal Policy Officer at the Greater London Authority, Alison Watson MBE, Managing Director at Class of Your Own, Cllr Denise Hyland, Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Apprenticeships at the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Danny Lucas Executive Chairman & Managing Director at Lucas UK, Steve Kelly, Mechanical Production Manager at Briggs & Forrester and Johanna Dorey, Apprentice Electrician, Briggs & Forrester.
With the help of its supply chain and local authority partners, the Berkeley Group has seen a 30% increase in the number of apprentices working across its sites and offices over the last two years.