Posted on 07 December 2023

A Leeds College of Building apprentice has won the prestigious ‘Interior Systems Apprentice of the Year’ title at The Training Awards 2023.

Zara Dupont, a Sparta Systems Ltd interior systems/dry lining apprentice, received The John G. Robinson Trophy after being shortlisted against two other nominees.

The Training Awards are a collaboration between FIS and The Worshipful Company of Plaisterers to recognise outstanding apprentices, students, individuals, and organisations that have achieved the highest standards of excellence in UK plastering and interior trades.

In front of a packed audience at Plaisterers’ Hall, the winners of nine awards across seven categories were announced and presented at a special gala lunch by Lord Mayor Michael Mainelli.

Steve Edwards, a Leeds College of Building Lecturer in Plastering, said:

“I was honoured to nominate Zara for the Plastering/Dry-Lining Award for her outstanding contributions to the field and her excellent academic and professional performance. Throughout her education at Leeds College of Building, Zara has demonstrated exceptional talent and dedication to plastering. She has completed her Level 1 and Level 2 plastering qualifications.

“Despite having dyslexia, autism spectrum disorder, asthma, and hip problems, Zara has been an inspiration to everyone. She represented Leeds College of Building in the regional and national SkillBuild competition 2022, winning the gold medal in the final in Edinburgh, which further reinforces her exceptional skills in the craft.”

The Training Awards launched in 2001 before The Plaisterers’ and FIS entered a partnership in 2022. Today, each award reflects a crucial aspect of the training, education, and life-long learning that has become a priority in the British construction industry.

Nikki Davis, CEO & Principal at Leeds College of Building, added:

“Zara has developed skills outside her workplace - in public speaking, teamwork and supporting others. For example, she was a member of a panel discussing women into construction with Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, and other industry professionals at UKReiif [the UK's Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum].

“These activities have taken Zara outside of her comfort zone, but she has developed so much over this time and is doing a brilliant job of promoting the College, but more importantly, the construction sector to other young women, particularly in the trade areas.”

Commenting on the awards, FIS President Philip Brown said:

“We are delighted to recognise the outstanding talent, both in apprentices and students themselves but also the colleges and training providers and mentors that work so hard to help the students forge hugely successful and rewarding careers.”

Learn more about courses, training, and apprenticeships at our next open night in February.