Sonny Keene, a Tonbridge resident who has been working on multi-million pound schemes to regenerate areas of Sherwood and Ramslye has been named Apprentice of the Year in an awards scheme.
Sonny Keene, who is from Matfield, was taken on as a K10 apprentice plumber as part of Town & Country Housing Group’s commitment to ensure that 1 in 5 of the workers on their Lakewood and Spa Meadow schemes were local residents.
The 23-year-old won the Apprentice of the Year category at the Kent Housing Group Excellence Awards despite not having any previous site-based experience when he started his apprenticeship in June 2013.
Sonny completed his apprenticeship in April this year, but his willingness to learn new skills impressed site managers so much that he was then offered a contract with Orchard Plumbing.
Sonny is delighted that his hard work has paid off. “Within a year I have gone from being in and out of low pay, temporary work with no qualifications, to being NVQ L2 qualified and in a full time job!” he said. “I hope that my achievements will inspire other people in my situation to chase opportunities, get their head down, work hard and achieve their goals.”
Matthew Adams, Site Supervisor for Orchard Plumbing & Heating, who offered Sonny a permanent contract after the completion of his apprenticeship, praised his employee.
“Sonny encapsulates what any construction company is looking for in an employee. Any young person looking to get into construction could learn a lot from Sonny. He is an asset to my team and a pleasure to work with.”
Town & Country’s £10million Spa Meadows scheme in Ropers Gate, Ramslye was completed last month. Lakewood, the £32million regeneration of Sherwood is currently well underway.
The apprenticeships were offered as part of a partnership between Town & Country Housing Group, the site developers Hill who are building the homes, and K10, who are helping to deliver a number of apprenticeships on the sites.
Colin Lissenden, Development Director for Town & Country Housing Group, said: “Right from the start we’ve said how important it was to have local people involved in these schemes, both in the consultation phases and the construction. Sonny is one of a number of apprenticeships we have created and I am delighted that his appetite for learning and hard work has been recognised by the judges.”
The Kent Housing Group acts as the ‘Voice of Housing in Kent’. It is a forum for social housing organisations in the county and has representation from all twelve Kent local authorities, Medway Council, over sixteen housing associations and Kent County Council.