Orkney modern apprentice lauded for inspiring others

Conor Coburn

AN Orkney modern apprentice who helped build affordable homes for the islands and inspire other young workers has been shortlisted for a Scottish Apprenticeship.

Conor Coburn (22), of Kirkwall, joined Orkney Builders in 2018 and impressed with his high standard of work, leadership, focus and passion for learning.

He quickly cemented the basic skills he had developed with his dad – who also works at the company and who had inspired his work ambitions.

During his modern apprenticeship in construction (building) Conor worked on an affordable new build scheme and played a key role in manufacturing timber kits when sourcing became difficult.  He was also given a work package at a school nursery development contract and allocated an apprentice to work alongside him. The project has since been applauded by both the client and end-user for the quality of workmanship and finish presented.

Conor said, “My dad has always been in construction and I started helping him out with jobs around the house when I was four, so I knew I wanted to go into the sector when I left school. The modern apprenticeship improved my confidence and gave me the opportunity to prove what I can do.

“When you stand back from something and know you’ve done a great job, it feels good. Being part of every stage when we made timber frame kits was really special.”

Conor achieved a near 100% pass in his skills test as part of his learning at Orkney College UHI.

Orkney Builders (Contractors) MD Stephen Kemp said, “Apprentices are an essential part of our business, helping to maintain the competent and experienced tradespeople that we need. Conor is exceptional – he is very intelligent, works hard and people follow him. He is a natural leader and is steps ahead of many people his own age.

“Within a few months of starting the apprenticeship, our site managers had identified him as a leader of the future, which is extremely positive, and also rare.”

CITB apprenticeship officer Jacqueline Argo added, “Conor has an absolute knack for his trade and is a brilliant all-rounder. He is the epitome of a successful apprentice, a natural leader and his quiet confidence inspires those around him to work to his high standards.”

Conor’s achievements have led to him being a finalist in the Modern Apprentice of the Year – SCQF Level 6+ category at the awards.

Winners will be revealed at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, organised by Skills Development Scotland, during a virtual ceremony on March 8.