Arbroath apprentice a shining star for gas company

Apprentice of the Year 2017 Kris proudly displays his award, flanked by his team manager, Neil Morgan (left), and Maintenance Operations Manager Jeremy Deveney.
Apprentice of the Year 2017 Kris proudly displays his award, flanked by his team manager, Neil Morgan (left), and Maintenance Operations Manager Jeremy Deveney.

A trainee engineer from Arbroath has been recognised for his outstanding performance by his employer, gas distribution company SGN, in its 2016 Apprentice of the Year awards.

Kris Duff fought off competition from his peers to carry off the award for Best Maintenance Apprentice in Scotland. He is in the final year of his apprenticeship and is completing his training by combining theoretical study at Develop Training’s Linlithgow facility and Forth Valley College in Falkirk with practical experience on-site under the supervision of an experienced engineer.

Before applying to SGN, Kris, 23, worked for the pub chain Weatherspoons. He said: “Although I was happy in my previous role, I wanted a career, rather than just a job and the idea of training towards a recognised qualification while still working was very attractive. When I researched SGN’s apprenticeship scheme, it was clear it would offer me plenty of opportunities for progression.

“At the moment I’m focusing on passing my final assessments in order to qualify as a Maintenance Craftsmen next January. After that I will be working out of Dundee depot and for the time being I’m happy to see where the job takes me.”

Kris’s mentor, Maintenance Manager John Forsyth, said he was delighted his efforts had been rewarded: “Kris’s attitude to his apprenticeship has been fantastic right from day one. It doesn’t matter what he’s asked to do, he always gives it 100 per cent. He’s great in a team too and gets on well with everybody.”

In deciding who should win the company’s Apprentice of the Year award, SGN’s Training team took into account the views of the apprentices’ mentors, their line managers and those who oversee the apprenticeship programme.They were also judged on the progress they had made and the personal skills demonstrated over the past year.

Neil Snell, SGN Head of Training and Development, explained that it wasn’t simply about which apprentice performed best academically, it was more of a broad judgement about their attitude, behaviour, performance and how they got on with other people.

He said: “Kris has been an all-round excellent performer, both in his formal training and when he works alongside more experienced colleagues. In the relatively short time he has been with us, he has already made a real and significant contribution to the company and he should be very proud of his achievements.”

Since launching its apprenticeship programme in 2008, SGN has recruited 90 apprentices for its six depots in Scotland and a further 164 for the South of England. It invests between £90,000 and £140,000 in each apprentice and that investment has been rewarded by the fact that the programme has a 97 per cent retention rate.

Kris was presented with his certificate on November 18, at SGN’s Edinburgh office by Gary Barnes, the company’s Director of Corporate Services.