The Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants (WCoBM) recently hosted its annual City & Awards luncheon at the City’s Vintners’ Hall.
Introduced seven years ago, it recognises achievements of individuals in the industry as well as organisations the Company supports through its charitable fund.
Prize winners this year included four Builders Merchants Federation (BMF) students. The first BMF Manchester Opening Learning (MOL) prize went to Jack Rothwell of James Hargreaves Plumbers’ Merchants, who achieved a top mark of 28 points based on the modules he completed.
Second MOL prize, with 25 points, was awarded to Lynn McGhee of Ridgeons (pictured). The third MOL prize went to Peter Barker of West Building Supplies with 23 points. The BMF Campus Winner was Alun Thomas of LBS (Aberdare), while Steven Webber of Elliotts picked up the 2017 Golton Award as the top performing student on the BMF Master’s Degree in Leadership & Strategy at Birmingham City University. All prizes were presented by the Guest of Honour, Sheriff Neil Redcliffe.
This year, merchant and supplier members were encouraged to bring ‘rising stars’ from its businesses as guests. This was part of a wider initiative which was launched, to raise the profile of builders’ merchanting and the options available for building a career with merchants or suppliers.
The Master, Brian Blanchard Chairman of the Education and Training Committee commented: “Our industry is facing significant challenges with skills shortages and the poor perception of construction. It’s therefore vital that we all play a part in educating students, schools and colleges about our industry and all that is good about it. We also have to reach out to young people already working in our sector so they’re encouraged to stay and pursue a career with a builders’ merchant or supplier.”
He added: “Over the last 12-18 months of attending exhibitions, talking to parents and teachers, and presenting in schools, there’s been a strong realisation that there is a lot to do in building a better understanding of our industry – what it does, why it matters and where the opportunities are for young individuals. Awareness is low and there is little motivation to join our industry. But working with the BMF and other recognised industry bodies, we can amplify our messages, help to improve the image of construction, and promote the support that’s available such as training courses, bursaries and apprenticeship programmes.”
Image: Guest of Honour, Sheriff Neil Redcliffe (L) presents the Second MOL prize to Lynn McGhee of Ridgeons with the Master Brian Blanchard (R). Also in the photo is WCoBM’s Clerk Virginia Rounding.