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Crossrail celebrates apprentices at annual awards ceremony

By Andrew Dempsey

Crossrail celebrates apprentices at annual awards ceremony
  • Apprentice of the Year awarded to an ‘unstoppable and inspirational’ apprentice who helped disadvantaged candidates find work
  • Record number of nominations for Crossrail’s Apprentice Awards
  • Crossrail project has now created over 550 apprentices, far surpassing the original target of 400

A record number of apprentices were nominated for Crossrail’s annual Apprentice Awards, with the top award going to an ‘inspirational and unstoppable’ young woman working for the joint venture installing Crossrail’s tracks and railway systems.

Charley Whitelock, 20, from Bexleyheath in southeast London, is studying for a Level 4 NVQ in Public Relations with Alstom TSO Costain (ATC). Charley was nominated after being hailed as the driving force behind a partnership with the Prince’s Trust and JobCentre Plus that gave dozens of people aged between 18 and 25 and not in employment, education or training the opportunity to work on the project. Charley has been described by colleagues as having ‘energy’, ‘determination’ and the ‘ability to inspire others for the better’.

Upon receiving the award, Charley said: “It feels really surreal to have won, it’s such a surprise, but I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved and it’s great to be recognised by my colleagues. I started an apprenticeship when I was 17 as it was a great opportunity to work and earn money while I learn and I’ll finish with amazing experience at Crossrail on my CV. I’d encourage anyone thinking about doing an apprenticeship to go for it, it’s a fantastic opportunity.”

Crossrail Chairman Terry Morgan said: “Crossrail is much more than a railway; it is about giving young people the skills to deliver this project, and helping them build wonderful careers delivering the projects of the future. I’d like to congratulate all the winners of the awards; without their commitment and enthusiasm this would not be possible.”

Transport Minister Lord Ahmad said: “Whether in engineering or accounting, this Government’s massive investment in transport infrastructure - of which Crossrail is a great example - is creating thousands of apprenticeships and inspiring young people to pursue a rewarding job.

“I would like to congratulate Charley as well as all the winners and nominees for their achievements – I hope this is the start of a long and happy career in transport.”

The other apprentices and employers recognised at Crossrail’s fourth annual Apprentice Awards include:

  • Outstanding Crossrail Contractor – ATC: ATC stands out for its commitment to apprenticeships, and was hailed for involving its supply chain and providing quality apprenticeships of all levels.
  • Supply Chain Employer of the Year – Kilnbridge: The east London engineering firm providing specialist formwork and concrete cutting services at Crossrail’s Paddington station was celebrated for creating 14 apprentices, almost five times more than original pledged.
  • Intermediate Infrastructure Apprentice of the Year - Katie Kelleher: Katie, an Apprentice Lifting Technician for Select Plant Hire, working for Laing O-Rourke at Crossrail’s Tottenham Court Road site, was celebrated for her first-class attitude to safety and excellent communication skills.
  • Advanced Infrastructure Apprentice of the Year - Rajeev Chavda: An apprentice with BMSL working with ATC , Rajeev is studying for a Diploma in Electrotechnical Technology. Rajeev is described as exceptional and extremely committed, and are well respected because of their positivity and keenness to learn.
  • Advanced Business Apprentice - Bodrul Azad: Bodrul was commended for doing his utmost to live all of the Crossrail Values and for going ‘above and beyond’ in everything he does.
  • Apprenticeship Advocate of the Year - Ashley Swaby: Ashley, a Senior Procurement Manager at Laing O’Rourke, was recognised for providing end-to-end support to apprentices, even helping unsuccessful candidates find work elsewhere.

The awards ceremony comes during National Apprenticeship Week 2016. Crossrail, Transport for London (TfL), London Transport Museum and their suppliers are holding a range of events and activities to celebrate the contribution apprentices make to keep the capital. The events will also be used to encourage more young people to consider an apprenticeship as a pathway to a fulfilling career in the transport industry.

Crossrail has surpassed its target of creating 400 apprenticeships, with over 550 recruited so far. The apprentices have been trained in a range of professions from civil engineering and construction to accountancy, quantity surveying to business administration.

Since April 2009, Crossrail, TfL, London Transport Museum and their supply chains have created over 6,000 apprenticeships. The roles have enabled people to gain recognised qualifications, essential skills and valuable experience working on some London’s vital and high profile projects, all whilst earning a minimum of at least the London Living Wage.

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About Crossrail

The route will pass through 40 stations from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new twin-bore 21 km tunnels to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The Transport for London (TfL) run railway will be named the Elizabeth line when services through central London open in December 2018. The Crossrail project is being delivered by Crossrail Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL, and is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and TfL.