Scots shine at CITB awards evening

50th Anniversary Apprentice - Kenny McAllister
50th Anniversary Apprentice Kenny McAllister (centre) with Mike Bialyj, CITB Customer Services Director, and TV host Alexander Armstrong.

CUMNOCK’S Eddie Balmer has been recognised for his contribution to the construction of the SSE Hydro.

The Ayrshire man tasked with overseeing the building of the iconic Glasgow venue was named as a winner at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) Pride of Construction Awards in London.

Eddie, who took home an ‘I Built That’ award, said, “Being part of this project is the highlight of my 30-year-career in the construction industry.”

The freelance construction manager was engaged by Lend Lease on this iconic construction project overseeing multi-trade operations to Front of House, which included high-level inclined fire-rated, acoustic, airtight plenum ceilings.

The SSE Hydro, Scotland’s largest purpose-built public event arena, has a free spanning roof of 120 metres, large enough to encompass Glasgow’s Queen Street railway station and encloses a highly flexible amphitheatre for an audience of up to 13,000. Construction of the venue cost £125 million.

Shetland apprentice Christopher Smith also won a top industry award at the event. The Highland lad took home the National Construction College (NCC) Outstanding Apprentice of the Year prize.

National Construction college student Christopher – who works at Irvine Contractors Ltd in Lerwick – is now in the third year of his apprenticeship. After being presented with the award by television personality Alexander Armstrong,Christopher said, “The training and support I have received during my apprenticeship from my employer, the NCC and CITB have helped give me a great start in the construction industry.”

There was more Scottish success in the shape of East Kilbride plasterer Kenny McAllister. Kenny catapulted himself from apprentice to boss in a few short years has been recognised for his efforts.

He won the 50th Anniversary Apprentice Award. Kenny started working as a plasterer alongside his dad at the age of 15, but just a few years later, he set up his own company, KMac plasterers. After starting an apprenticeship with CITB he combined working onsite while attending South Lanarkshire College in two-week blocks and studied for his SVQ Level 3.

Kenny said, “The apprenticeship was the best of both worlds. I still got plenty of on-site experience, which boosted my teamwork and communication skills. However, at college we got to experience different types of work, for example cornice work, which helped make me a better all-round tradesman.”