An apprentice with Jones Bros, Ruthin, has won first prize in a national competition to find the country’s best apprentice mechanic. Matthew Dawson, 21, an apprentice plant maintenance engineer, has just returned from a trip to America, which he won as first prize. The competition was run by manufacturing company, Briggs and Stratton. A former pupil at Mold Alun School who lives in Nannerch, Matthew competed against 230 other apprentice mechanics from around the UK to be awarded his prize at a ceremony in Windsor.
He said: “I was surprised and delighted to win first prize. It makes me the best apprentice in the country and that’s a real honour.” Matthew’s prize was a training course at Briggs and Stratton’s US headquarters in Milwakee, Wisconsin. It is the world’s largest producer of air-cooled gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment such as lawn mowers and generators.
As well as work, he had the chance to watch an American football game and eat out in the country’s famous steak houses.
Matthew added: “It was a trip of a lifetime. I’d never been to America before and this was a great opportunity to see the country. I’d love to go back and see more.
“The course was good fun and very useful. I now know much more about fixing broken down engines.” Matthew is about to start his third and final year of an NVQ level 2 in plant maintenance Reaseheath College, Nantwich. Last year he was named top trainee out of 45 apprentices on his course. His apprenticeship comprises block release at college followed by periods with the Jones Bros plant maintenance team, attending to plant as required on various company sites. Matthew is one of 24 apprentices currently learning their trade with Jones Bros.
The family-owned company, the biggest employer in Ruthin, has a workforce of 240 people.
Jones Bros training manager Ken Jones said: “We are delighted that the top apprentice mechanic in the country works for Jones Bros. We congratulate Matthew.
“We look forward to Matthew making good use of the new skills he learnt in America to keep our plant in good working order.” Jones Bros recruits school-leavers annually for recognised apprenticeships in disciplines including civil engineering, heavy equipment mechanics and earth moving operations.
The company carries out contracts around the UK on projects varying from highways to business parks infrastructure, wind farms and sea defences, quarrying and marine developments.