Young Redrow painter and decorator Elizabeth Gibbs is hoping to have more than a brush with success after being shortlisted for Best Apprentice under 25 in the Women in Construction Awards.
And while she is thrilled to have made it to the final four, Elizabeth says taking the top prize would put the gloss on it even more!
“I am so excited,” said Elizabeth, currently working at Redrow’s Hamilton Park development in Leicester. “When I heard I was in the shortlist I was thrilled and so proud of what I had achieved, I wasn’t expecting it at all.
“When I realised I was one of only four I was really taken aback, and so delighted. I was surprised it had been whittled down to so few.”
She added: “Of course it would be nice to win but, to be honest, whatever happens it’s an honour to be nominated and a further honour to be placed in the final group.
“I am so grateful to Redrow for supporting me and giving me the chance to be an apprentice and work for them. Win or not, this gives me the confidence to go forward and gain my qualifications; and the ambition to move, one day, into management.”
Judges were told how Elizabeth had overcome difficulties and personal tragedy, during which she had never veered off her training path. In fact, far from being deterred it spurred her on and made her even more determined, becoming a self-motivator and, always, a perfectionist.
Elizabeth, who is currently working towards her NVQ Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship, has dyslexia which went undiagnosed until she was at college. Since diagnosis she has discovered and developed a different way to learn.
But it was as much personal problems, which could have made a lesser person give up, that made Elizabeth determined to dig deeper and work even harder having not had the same level of family support as many other apprentices.
With help from her CITB apprenticeship officer and Redrow – and despite undergoing an operation which left her in hospital for almost two months – Elizabeth continued her studies and met every deadline set for her.
She has been described by colleagues, her college tutor at Leicester College, which she attends one day a week, and CITB officer as a “perfectionist” and “hard worker”, someone who is “passionate” about what she does and who is helping to mentor and encourage other women in the construction field.
Karen Jones, Group HR director for Redrow, said: “The support Redrow gives its apprentices is incredibly important, not least because the trainees of today are the skilled tradespeople of tomorrow that the housing industry so needs. Around 15% of our 2,000-plus workforce are actually apprentices or trainees.
“What Elizabeth has achieved in the last few years is incredible. In fact, given her circumstances, it is amazing. She is amazing.
“Elizabeth is a young woman who should be very proud of herself – we are certainly proud of her. We wish her the very best in the Women in Construction Awards and hope she goes on to take the Best Apprentice Under 25 award but, regardless of what happens on the night, she is an integral part of our team and a winner in our eyes.”
The awards will be held in Manchester on 1st March.
Main image: Redrow apprentice Elizabeth Gibbs, shortlisted for Best Apprentice under 25 at the 2017 Women in Construction Awards.