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CFA highlights fantastic future talent

The CFA/CFJ Flooring Apprentice of the Year is back for 2023 – shining a light on amazing flooring apprenticeship talent, says Shaun Wadsworth.

THE Contract Flooring Association has always strived to promote the very best in floorlaying through dedicated publications, its own training arm FITA and the recent addition of the Future Fitters campaign – the CFA response to the skills and labour crisis.

The centrepiece to all of this however is the increasingly popular Flooring Apprentice of the Year Competition. This has consistently been a fantastic way for employers, FE colleges, and training providers to give their apprentice(s) the recognition they deserve by entering them into this highly sought-after competition and I’m pleased to announce it’s back for 2023.

The CFA is proud to promote this award in conjunction with CFJ and we’re always overwhelmed with the levels of engagement from industry. The competition has become a regular feature in the flooring industry calendar and highlights the dedication and achievements of flooring apprentices across the UK. It’s a platform for apprentices to highlight the skills they’ve learnt during their apprenticeships and for the companies that employ the apprentices to get involved, it shows their commitment to training their workforce and their investment in the next generation of flooring fitters.

The level of support shown for our apprentices each year with the submissions received and the prizes donated is something we’re continually amazed by and also something the flooring industry should be immensely proud of. It demonstrates just how committed all areas of the flooring industry are in supporting training to develop a highly skilled and competent workforce for the future.

Competitions like this promote the very best the industry has to offer and serve as a reminder of what good quality training can lead to. I hope the competition also shows just how invaluable formal training programmes like apprenticeships really are. That is why we believe the Flooring Apprentice of the Year competition is a crucial way to promote the sector to the next generation of floorlayer.

Submit entries directly though the CFA website at from 2 January-31 March 2023. Entering the competition is easy but relies specifically on the apprentice, employer and the training provider to submit information, supporting comments and evidence of projects or activity that show just how good the nominee is.

To enter the competition the nominee must be attending an industry recognised off-the-job floorlaying apprenticeship programme at an FE College or with a private training provider to learn the knowledge and skills of the trade.

The competition is backed by superb support from our sponsors, to whom we are very grateful, providing the entrants with a chance to win a minimum of £1,000 in cash, thousands of pounds worth of high-quality products, training days, tools and equipment for the winning apprentice.

These fantastic prizes will be presented at a prize-giving ceremony at the FITA Training Centre in Loughborough in June 2023. The lucky apprentice will also have the honour of attending the CFJ/CFA Awards to officially receive their award along with the flooring industry’s top flooring contractors and manufacturers.

George is an apprentice with Rudge Brothers & James in Bristol and was announced as the winner of the 2022 competiton, receiving high praise from the flooring industry during the prizegiving day in May and at the CFJ/CFA Awards in September.

The competition entries were judged by an independent panel made up of CFA council members with a vast wealth of experience in flooring. George submitted an excellent application, along with superb recommendations from his employer and his tutor that led the judges to their decision. George was able to add a wealth of photos, videos and experiences into his case study which the judges were highly impressed with and they came to a unanimous decision that George was the worthy winner.

George was presented with his award and prizes in June 2022 at the Flooring Industry Training Association (FITA) training centre in Loughborough with representatives from sponsors on hand to congratulate George personally. George summed up his feelings by commenting: ‘There are no words to describe how honoured I am to have been chosen for this award. The competition is tough, and I can now carry this title with pride for the rest of my career as a floorlayer. I also want to personally thank Andy and Shaun Kessler, floorlayers at Rudge brothers and James who have guided me through my journey. This award is lifechanging for me and my career as a floorlayer, which I am nothing but passionate about.’

Jim Heal, George’s employer said: ‘It has been our pleasure to have George as one of our apprentices. His dedication and willingness to listen has led to George winning Apprentice of the Year.
I cannot be prouder of George; he has put a huge amount of time and effort into his learning with his mentors Andy and Shaun Kessler onsite. In less than two years as a trainee fitter to being crowned Apprentice of the Year is amazing, well-done George.’

George attends FloorSkills Training Centre for his off-the-job training and tutor Rob Harper could see that George stood out from his first day: ‘George has given everything in each and every training session he is involved in. He learns fast, not just from practical training but the theory that goes with it and has strived to deliver the very best results at all times. He has demonstrated a fantastic desire to learn and develop himself in all areas of his work, but also has the ability with his hands to match his desire and the future is very bright for him, showing himself to be skilled in all areas of his apprenticeship. George is an asset to the industry, and this industry will be in a great position the more people like him we can get involved. It has been a pleasure to be involved in delivering his training, congratulations George, you’re a worthy winner of ‘Apprentice of the Year’.’

If you employ a superb apprentice who is adding value to your business, with masses of potential, ingenuity and talent, then why not work with them to submit an entry and celebrate their success. It’s great receiving recognition for a good job from time to time, so if you have someone who is putting 100% effort into their training and producing consistently excellent results then this competition is a great way of saying thanks for the hard work. Engaging in competitions also helps to promote your own business as research shows that customers and clients support companies that train apprentices.

Also, if you work within a college or training provider and you have spotted a talented individual, please let the employer know so that you can all work together to submit an entry.

Finally, if you would like to discuss entering the competition or you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact me on the details below.
0115 9506836
Shaun Wadsworth is CFA and FITA
training manager

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