Upton teenager wins apprentice of the year award

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Upton teenager Ben Smith has beaten competition from dozens of skilled apprentices to win a top regional award.

The former Minsthorpe Community College student has been named as Leeds College of Building’s Construction Operative Apprentice of the Year.

Mr Smith, 19, started as an apprentice with Wakefield Council’s highways team two years ago and has learned a number of practical skills, including how to mend potholes, repair roadside kerbs and operate machinery.

He is now employed full-time as a construction operative with the council.

Mr Smith, of Hill Estate, said: “I’m really pleased to have won and it feels like a really good achievement.

“I was 16 when I heard about apprenticeships at the council and I thought it was a good opportunity as I’ve always been interested in practical work and I like being outdoors.”

Coun David Dagger, cabinet member for transport and highways, said: “Ben’s success is a testament to his hard work and commitment. Apprenticeships offer a wealth of opportunities to young people and I am proud that the council is able to offer this support young people in our district to achieve their goals.”