BAE apprentice is given top honour

WINNER Shaun Collins
WINNER Shaun Collins
From left, Jacob Kennard, Gavin Moon, Ian Doyle and Sarah Talboys-Smith with Shanon Rees and Rodney Watson at the front
 at the Southsea Village in Palmerston Road Picture: Habibur Rahman

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AN apprentice from Portsmouth has won a gong from his employer to recognise his hard work and determination.

Twenty-one-year-old fabricator Shaun Collins, who works at Portsmouth Naval Base, collected the Personal Achievement Award as part of the BAE Systems UK Apprentice Awards.

Shaun overcame learning difficulties and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to complete his apprenticeship, giving up his own time, working evenings and weekends to receive extra tuition, enabling him to achieve his academic goals.

Shaun said: ‘I was shocked to get the award.

‘I was so proud to be the only apprentice from Portsmouth to be nominated for it but I had no idea I would win.

‘My practical work is not a problem, but you need the academic side as well – that’s what I found difficult.

‘I had a lot of support from the BAE Systems apprentice support team and then, when I came into the yard there were older guys and people who are willing to teach you the craft.

‘It’s really good that way. With everybody’s help; it sort of clicked and I started to think “I am actually really good at what I’m doing so I’m going to focus on that”.’

‘I know the paperwork is horrible, but if I can get through it I will achieve what I want to and will be able to carry on doing what I love, which is the practical work.

‘At the end of the day I look back at the job I am doing and I think “yeah, I’ve done well” – that’s what makes me happy.’

BAE Systems Maritime –Naval Ships was nominated in 13 categories, collecting five honours at the event that celebrates excellence in the workplace and academic study.

Mick Ord, managing director of BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships, said: ‘I am hugely proud of all our apprentices nominated for these awards and congratulate the winners for this significant achievement.’