A student from Bradford College who is building a bright future after a troubled upbringing has been shortlisted for a national award.
Construction apprentice Josh Smith has been selected as a finalist in the 2018 Young Builder of the Year Awards.
The teenager from Queensbury is one of eight young people from across the country vying to take the title in the 14 to 18-year-old category of the awards organised by Youthbuild UK.
The 17-year-old will discover whether he has won or not when he attends a ceremony at the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday (October 17).
The Young Builder of the Year Awards celebrate the achievements of young people who despite having to overcome personal barriers have succeeded in training for and or gaining employment in the construction industry.
With a difficult home life and school behavioural issues which often meant he was excluded from lessons, Josh left school with just one low-level GCSE but, after convincing Martin Hargreaves at Archcraft Builders to offer him an apprenticeship, the teenager turned his life around and is excelling on the bricklaying course he is studying at Bradford College – having won one inter-college contest and finished fourth in another Yorkshire-wide competition.
“I was brought up in an environment where there were issues with drugs and crime,” explained Josh.
“This created behavioural issues at school and I was excluded from most lessons because of my conduct and was considered a distraction. I struggled to learn because I wasn’t allowed in classes and was told constantly that I would never achieve anything or get a job which meant I had very low self-esteem. My mother was also diagnosed with cancer while I was at school, which affected me emotionally. I would really like to thank her for pushing me to reach my goals and helping me through the tough times.”
Josh with one of his competition builds
Josh will be joined at the awards ceremony by his tutor at Bradford College, Joe Lumb, who nominated him for the award.
He said: “I was unaware of the difficulties Joshua had to overcome until recently when he confided in me as his tutor.
“I understand that he had problems gaining employment but his commitment, attitude and continuing development has proved to his employer that he made the correct decision when he gave Josh a chance to prove himself. Josh will do well in construction and I believe despite his past his future is bright.
“He is a very reliable and studious young man and is focussed on his future development. He achieves distinctions on a regular basis and takes pride in his work. His attitude towards tutors is respectful and he takes on board advice and guidance to improve his work and future.
“Josh produces brickwork of a very good standard and I have encouraged him to stretch and challenge his development and train for competition bricklaying, which he has done successfully. His commitment is exemplary.”
The winner of the 14 to 18-year-old category will receive up to £750 (including tools) and their educational establishment will receive tools worth up to £500.