Richard Noble OBE presented the CPA’s ‘Stars of the Future’ young apprentice awards at PLANTWORX to an audience of 250 guests! An overwhelming success!

On the 14th May at PLANTWORX construction equipment exhibition (Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire) the CPA (Construction Plant-hire Association) hosted the ‘Stars of the Future’ plant mechanic apprenticeship awards presentation in a star studded ceremony full of young engineers, who took part in the competition from colleges nationwide. Presenting the awards was Richard Noble OBE – a land speed record holder and the pioneer of the Bloodhound SSC project.

A special feature of the Awards, which were sponsored by A-Plant, Hewden, JCB and Speedy, was a very engaging talk by Richard Noble OBE on the Bloodhound SSC (Super Sonic Car) project and how he intends, with his colleagues, to break the land speed record once again reaching a speed of 1000mph in Africa in 2014. The students were wide eyed with admiration for the pioneer and were glued to the edge of their seats with anticipation for the next chapter – of particular interest to the students was talk of the engineering of a vehicle that’s going to achieve a staggering 1000mph!
Richard Noble said, “Thanks so much for inviting me to the Plantworx event – I really enjoyed myself. I thought the CPA Stars of the Future apprentice programme was very well done and you could see the look of pride on the winners’ faces – it meant a lot to them. I was privileged to take part – so thank you again – these engineers ARE our future!”
Friends, partners and parents looked on as each winner was presented with their award – at times there was hardly a dry eye in the house as these young stars beamed with pride at receiving recognition for their hard work.
CPA’s President Bob Collins also spoke to the group, recalling his time in the hire industry and reinforcing the crucial importance of the engineers and plant mechanics who actually keep Britain’s construction industry working. Bob praised the hard work of the apprentices, and left them in no doubt that they were all Stars of the Future.
The event was closed by CPA’s Chairman Brian Jones who spoke about the importance of a solid grounding in the practical side of the industry, and the great value in introducing people to the industry at the start of their careers. Brian also thanked the organisation team, and especially thanked Richard Noble for his enthusiastic participation.
The Stars of the Future competition is an annual award scheme devised by the CPA to recognise talented youngsters on plant mechanic apprentice schemes in colleges across the UK. In the inaugural competition there were a staggering 489 entries making judging very tough. There were separate prizes for Level 2 and Level 3 apprentices and colleges monitored their students and revealed their two ‘Stars of the Future’ apprentices. There were 20 regional winners across the country who attended the Awards presentation. From amongst these 20 finalists a panel of judges decided the two National Winners, one at each level. Joining Richard Noble OBE and the CPA team were around 250 guests including parents and families of the winners and college leaders!
Master of Ceremonies on the day was CPA’s Haydn Steele, who was also responsible for organising the presentation event. He said, “It was amazing to see so much support for the Stars of the Future which encapsulated the ethos of the industry, employers, trainers and the next generation of engineers. We have set a very high benchmark but we intend to make the scheme even bigger and better next year.”
CPA Director Kevin Minton played a key role in developing the Stars of the Future scheme and ensuring its success. He said, “CPA and everybody present were all really pleased with the event and the contribution made by Richard Noble. I think this has given the apprentices a boost to their self-esteem and – in many cases – a real boost to their vision and ambition.”
The Regional winners at level 2 were as follows: Adam Hughes from Gunn JCB / Reaseheath College, Bryn James from GH James / Coleg Llysfasi, Dale McCarthy from GenSet / Bridgend College, Jack Cox from National Construction College, John Peat from Finnings / Finning Academy, Josh Gravelle from Holt JCB / Wiltshire College, Nathan Wadiun from Moortown Construction / Askham Bryan College, Phillip Ellcock from AGD Equipment / Myerscough College, Ryan Hunter from AT Best Handlers / North Glasgow College and Steffan McGrath from Marubeni Komatsu / Stafford College.
The Regional winners at level 3 were as follows: Samuel Gherezgiher from Speedy Services / Askham Bryan, Scott Lewis from K&J Services / Bridgend College, Geraint Williams from Jones Bros / Coleg Llysfasi, Tom Wardle from Finning / Finning Academy, Daniel England from National Construction College, James Hogg from Gordon Bow / North Glasgow College, James Scott from A-Plant / Reaseheath College, Phil Sullivan from Liebherr GB Ltd / Stafford College, Ben Grinnell from Selwood Ltd / Wiltshire College, and James Thomason from William Hare Group / Myerscough College.
The National winners were Nathan Wadiun (level 2) from Moortown Construction / Askham Bryan College and James Scott (level 3) from A-Plant / Reaseheath College.

The two National Winners received £1000 in tool vouchers and the Regional Winners received £500 in tool vouchers. A Stars of the Future trophy and commemorative certificate were also given to all the winners, which Mr Noble signed for posterity! A photograph of the presentation with Richard Noble OBE is also available to the students.
CPA are now planning next year’s Stars of the Future awards. The venue is to be confirmed as PLANTWORX is a biennial exhibition – watch this space for details!
Source: PLANTWORX/ CEA (Construction Equipment Association)