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Harrison Blackham wins Institute of Carpenters (IOC) 3rd Year Student Award for 2023

  • 08.01.2024

Congratulations to former York College & University Centre Joinery Apprenticeship student Harrison Blackham who has won the 2023 Institute of Carpenters (IOC) 3rd Year Student Award.

The triple-distinction-graded joiner and employer Roger Silk of Dunnington-based firm Houghtons of York were welcomed back to the College Campus on 13th December to receive the prestigious award, the trophy and the IOC certificate, all of which were presented by the Institute of Carpenters President Geoff Rhodes and Robin Clevett, one of the national judges of the competition.

The trophy, which is the beautifully carved ‘Rainleaf’ trophy was handmade by Master Carver Andy Peters, from a selection of English Hardwoods and will be kept and put on display at York College & University Centre for the next 12 months.

The IOC President also presented York College & University Centre with a signed IOC Certificate to celebrate Harrison’s success, which will be framed and put on display in the college.

Witnessing and sharing in the celebrations were York College Head of Construction Ashley Stokes, Deputy Head of Construction Mike Burdett, tutor Adrian Salton and Apprenticeship Training Assessor Joe Clancy.

The format of the competition saw Harrison submit a portfolio of his work as his entry was considered against a number of high-quality candidates. It was Harrison’s academic achievements of a triple-distinction graded qualification and two outstanding references from his employer and the college that gave him the edge.

On returning to York College & University Centre to receive the award, Harrison said: “It feels really good to have won the award and I feel very proud. It’s not just an award for me, it’s an award for everyone who’s helped me along the way.

“I did my apprenticeship with Houghtons and I’m now working for them full-time as a qualified joiner manufacturing and installing doors, staircases and windows.”

Along with the award, Harrison also received sponsored prizes from Axminster Tools, Ironmongery Direct, Reisser UK and MEDITE SMARTPLY.

Winning such awards would not be possible without employers such as Houghtons, who invest so much time, patience, and funding into apprenticeship provision.

On hearing the news of Harrison’s success, Roger Silk, of Houghtons of York, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see Harrison win this IOC award. Seeing all the hard work he has put in being recognised is great.

“He’s been so committed to gaining as much knowledge as he possibly can and has a real interest in not only what he’s working on, but what the joiners on the other benches around him are as well.

“We’re passionate about our apprentices and are committed to providing them with the skills they need to then keep them in-house once their studies are completed.”

Head of Construction Ashley Stokes congratulated Harrison on his “superb achievement”, adding that, “reaching this pinnacle at an early stage in his career is massively impressive”.

Apprenticeship Training Assessor Joe Clancy, who paired Harrison with Houghtons, spotted the young apprentice’s talent early on in his studies. Joe believes putting the right talent with the right team has been key to Harrison’s success and went on to say: “I’m so passionate about the joinery trade and feel incredibly proud to have had an input into Harrison’s future”.

Harrison’s tutor Adrian Salton added: “We’ve always seen Harrison as a standout apprentice throughout his studies and it’s so nice to see him being recognised for the hard work he’s put in.”