Contractor celebrates double success at CIOB Scotland Awards

Gary Holmes and Shams Rahimi

GRAHAM is celebrating after the contractor claimed two top prizes at the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Scotland Awards.

Heriot Watt graduate Shams Rahimi won the Graduate Award, while the Inspirer of the Year/Mentor Award went to Gary Holmes, regional MD at GRAHAM Building North.

Shams secured a first-class honours degree in civil engineering at Heriot Watt University, whilst also undertaking a modern apprenticeship, before going on to complete a graduate apprenticeship with GRAHAM. As a teenager, he arrived in Scotland as a refugee from Afghanistan and after struggling to begin his career due to a disrupted education, he decided to take a more unconventional route. Shams enrolled in a local college course and started approaching construction sites to find work experience, which led him to GRAHAM.

A second GRAHAM employee, Jos Mackie, was also celebrated in the shortlist of the Graduate Award. Jos joined the business nine years ago, where he completed his modern apprenticeship and graduate apprenticeship in partnership with Heriot Watt University. Jos now enjoys a full-time role as a site engineer at GRAHAM.

Gary Holmes, MD for GRAHAM’s Building North region, said, “We are extremely proud of both Shams and Jos for their impressive achievements and continued hard work as construction professionals. Shams’ win at the recent CIOB Scotland Awards is a result of his excellent work ethic, eagerness to learn and consistently being a team player, and we look forward to helping him further his career at GRAHAM.

“Through our dedicated graduate and mentoring programmes, GRAHAM is committed to investing in developing future talent, and Jos and Shams are testament to the results of working with young people and giving them valuable opportunities to learn and develop.”

Laurent Galbrun, programme director for Heriot-Watt’s civil engineering graduate apprenticeship, added, “Shams’ journey is a testimony to perseverance, dedication and humility. Shams arrived in Scotland from his home country of Afghanistan as a refugee and has gone on to achieve a first class honour degree. Since graduating last year Shams has now taken on the role of work-based mentor for other graduate apprentices and is well on his way to a successful career.”

Shams and Jos have also helped other graduates, students and young people in realising a career path in construction by taking on leading roles in the GRAHAM Academy, providing support for apprentices. They have also been ‘pivotal’ in developing how GRAHAM’s Young Persons Forum, set up by Gary Holmes in March 2022, will run going forward.